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Online hate, unsolicited advice, breach of privacy and more – Delhi’s first Coronavirus patient recounts his ordeal

"I was made into a criminal. I was made to feel as if I went to Italy solely for the purpose of contracting this illness", he said

A 45-year-old businessman who manufactures technical textiles for footwear became the subject of hate messages and unsolicited advice after he tested positive for the deadly Wuhan Coronavirus (Covid-19), on March 1, reported News 18. Personal information such as his phone number was also leaked online.

The father of two had travelled to Milan in Italy on February 16 and then to Budapest in Hungary on February 21. He took a flight back to New Delhi from Vienna on February 24. He was diagnosed with coronavirus infection on March 1.

He narrated, “I started receiving phone calls and hate messages from unknown numbers while I was admitted in the hospital. I was made into a criminal. I was made to feel as if I went to Italy solely for the purpose of contracting this illness.” He was miffed that educated professionals known to him had been giving unsolicited medical advice, often wrought with baseless rumours.

A woman who called him to ask whether he was the coronavirus patient verbally abused him before disconnecting the phone call. An acquaintance called the patient to falsely inform that 25 to 30 per cent of his lungs had to be removed for his recovery.

The man was shifted to an isolated ward in Safdarjung Hospital. A team of 4 doctors broke the news to him. “They told me that I am coronavirus positive (first in Delhi) but I need not worry at all as it is like any other cold and cough. It may take a day or two extra but they said they will send me home hale and hearty. A major chunk of my worry was immediately relieved to see doctors being so helpful and caring towards me”, he recounted.

The resident of East Delhi then informed his wife and within a few hours, everyone he had been in contact with was tested. Lauding the promptness and preparedness of the Government, he said, “The health minister of the country did a video conference call with me during the 14-day period and enquired about my health.”

He was visited by a doctor 3 times a day and his ward was disinfected twice every day. The Covid-19 infected patient was allowed to video call his family members. He was cured on March 14 but has been recommended to be in-home quarantine for the next 2 weeks.

On Friday, the government of India has confirmed that the confirmed novel Coronavirus cases in India have climbed to 223. ICMR said in its report that a total of 14,376 samples have been tested from 13,486 individuals for testing the presence of SARS-CoV2 as on March 20, 2020.

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