On Saturday, the Times of India (TOI) had reported an incident in which the 25-year-old wife of a techie, who had himself tested positive for the coronavirus, had fled to Agra to her parent’s home. The TOI report had subsequently stated that the wife who had fled Bengaluru to reach Agra also tested positive for the coronavirus.
The report quoted health officials as saying that the wife, who had recently returned from her honeymoon in Italy and was put under quarantine after her husband showed symptoms of the disease, escaped from Bengaluru on 8 March, took a flight to New Delhi, and then went to Agra to be with her parents.
The report had said that the techie had been tested positive for COVID-19 on 7 March. In its updated report, the Times of India updated by stating that the techie, who is a Google employee, was tested positive on 12 March.
The report also accused the wife of the techie of resisting the attempt of the health officials to take her and eight other family members to isolation wards, and it was only after the intervention of the district magistrate and police force that the wife could be taken to an isolation ward along with her family members. Further, the report also stated that the father of the lady refused to cooperate with the team of health officials and also lied that his daughter had left for Bengaluru.
However, a report published by Swarajya stated that there is no truth to the Times of India’s story as it has published an incorrect sequence of events. Swarajya reached out to the brother of the infected techie, who shared that the family has been shocked by the report and the following outrage across the social media against the couple.
The brother of the techie spoke to Swarajya on the condition of anonymity, stated that his brother had got married sometime in mid-February. The couple then travelled to Athens, Greece, from Delhi for their honeymoon on 23 February.
Further, he added that the couple travelled to Greece, Switzerland, and France, and took a flight on 6 March 2020, from Paris, France, to Mumbai. The flight had a small layover in Munich, Germany. He also emphasised that his elder brother and sister-in-law had never gone to Italy in the first place, as reported by the Times of India. The couple returned to Mumbai on 6 March midnight, while the TOI report stated the couple had returned on 27 February, the younger brother clarified.
The younger brother also categorically stated that the couple had passed through the screening process at the Mumbai airport, where they were checked for body temperature and signs of flu. The couple cleared the screening process and spent the weekend at their parents’ residence in Navi Mumbai. On 8 March evening, the couple took a flight from Mumbai to Bengaluru. The flight was to land at night in Bengaluru. According to the younger brother, the techie had no signs of flu whatsoever at that time.
The couple did not leave the airport, as the wife of the techie was scheduled to leave for Delhi from the Bengaluru airport at 01:40 am (9 March). He added that the couple, given the excessive luggage from their honeymoon, decided to fly together to Bengaluru, instead of his wife directly leaving for Delhi.
The brother of the techie also stated that his sister-in-law left for Agra to be with her family for her first Holi after marriage. It is a prevailing tradition in many parts of the country where the girl spends her first Holi after the marriage, not at her in-laws, but at her parents’ place.
Rejecting the chronology of events published by Times of India, the brother of the techie stated that the couple never left the Bengaluru Airport, and thus did not escape any quarantine facility. The techie returned home after his wife departed for Delhi. He did not show any signs of fever, the brother confirmed. Therefore, when the wife had left Bengaluru, it was not known that her husband had caught the coronavirus infection.
Reportedly, On 9th March morning, the techie returned to work at his office in Bengaluru. The same morning, Google also conducted an internal screening process where they did not permit anyone with a temperature higher than normal to work. Interestingly, the techie passed this process and was allowed into the office premises.
However, he started complaining of a headache a few hours later citing a lack of sleep. Later, he returned home merely three-four hours later and by evening he was running a high fever. The brother said he helped the techie with some basic medicines for fever, believing it was another routine flu. Even on the morning of 10 March, the high fever persisted.
Later, the techie accompanied his brother to the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases in Jayanagar, Bengaluru. In the evening, the techie voluntarily submitted the necessary samples for testing. They were also told that they would be reached out to within 24-hours if anything risk worthy was found in the testing.
On the evening of 11 March, the techie got a call from the doctor who told him that he was being moved to a hospital as they were suspecting him to be positive for COVID-19. However, the doctor did not confirm the same at that point.
By 11 March late-night, the techie was admitted to the Jayanagar General Hospital. The brother who stayed at home was asked to be in self-quarantine and report if he too suffered from any symptoms. By 12 March noon, the family had the confirmation of the techie being tested positive for coronavirus.
Soon, the medical team in Agra had swung into action after they were informed about the report. They reached the residence of techie’s wife, who had already by then was in Agra. They requested her and her family to accompany them for testing. However, upon reaching the premises, the techie’s wife, to her dismay, discovered that the place was filthy and reeking of bad smell, according to them.
Reportedly, the wife of the techie was already in Agra on 9 March itself while her husband, as per the updated report of TOI the techie tested positive on March 12. It can be said that when the wife travelled to Agra, she was not even aware that her husband had contacted the coronavirus.
Health officials in Agra allowed the wife and her family to return home and be in isolation. Her first samples were collected on 12 March. The next day (13 March), the health officials returned to her place and requested her and the family to accompany them to the isolation ward. As the wife of the techie knowing the hygiene conditions of the facility, she resisted being in the ward.
The brother of the techie told Swarajya that Dr Mukesh Kumar Vats, Chief Medical Officer of Agra, had promised the lady that her concerns would be taken care of.
The lady was later moved to a better facility, but the family was required to move to the same ward. While the first test conducted on the wife of the techie on 12 March afternoon was inconclusive and showed no signs of her being positive for COVID-19, a second test was conducted on 14 March and the results of the same are still awaited. Her family has tested negative for COVID-19.
However, the TOI report blames the couple for being irresponsible and single out the wife of the techie for flying from Bengaluru to Delhi after escaping a quarantine facility. However, as per the sequence of events shared by the family, the wife did not leave the Bengaluru airport and her husband did not test positive for COVID-19 until 12 March.
At the time of writing this report, the wife of the techie is still not tested positive for the coronavirus and rattled by the hate she, her husband, and her family received online. Meanwhile, the techie is stable and is undergoing treatment for COVID-19.
The sequence of events narrated by the brother matches with another account given by a person who knows the family personally.
Dear @timesofindia pls fact check b4 spreading misinformation. @virendersehwag @msisodia @GoogleIndia #misinformation #FakeNews #coronovarius #CoronaVirusUpdates #Agra #google #bangaloretechie https://t.co/jEC5qAPcJD pic.twitter.com/AZeleB2Mgx— Yash Archit (@yasharchit) March 14, 2020
A person named Yash Archit had posted on social media that the couple had reached Bengaluru 8th, and the wife had left for Delhi on the same day from the airport itself, while the husband had tested positive for Covid-19 on 12th, so she can’t be accused of traveling after knowing that she might be infected.