‘Worried about the future’
[ Tongam Rina ]
ITANAGAR, Apr 5: Arunachal’s first Covid-19 positive patient says that he is sorry for “contracting the virus, bringing it home and putting everyone in trouble.”
Speaking to this reporter from the isolation ward of the zonal general hospital in Tezu, he said that he would not have come back to the state if he had known that he had contracted the virus.
“I heard about people dying of the virus in China while I was in Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. I did not know it would reach India. The next thing I know is I am in an isolation ward after having tested positive,” he said.
Nobody wants to be ill. Certainly nobody wants a disease as contagious as the coronavirus, the patient said.
“I feel very sorry and sad at the same time,” said the patient, who has been mercilessly attacked on social media and various other platforms and rejected by the people of the state he calls home.
“When I saw the Facebook posts and the photo of my family going viral, I did not know how to react. What can I say…?”
A tribal friend of his took the photo as the family was being taken to the quarantine facility. “I did not know he would leak it,” the patient said.
“The DMO (Dr Sajinglu Chai Pul) asked me not to worry about hate comments on social media and concentrate on getting well,” he said.
The patient is currently asymptomatic. He was taken to a quarantine facility, along with his family, on 31 March by the Lohit administration after reports emerged that many of those who had travelled to Delhi’s Nizamuddin for the Tablighi Jamaat (congregation) from elsewhere in the country tested positive for the virus.
The state police started tracing those who attended the event on 31 March, concurrently with the nationwide search.
The patient was already under home quarantine much before the nationwide tracing started for the Tablighis who returned from Nizamuddin.
“I came back to Namsai on 19 March, and reached my home in Medo the next day.
“The next day, Sen dada (a health department employee in Medo) asked me to get myself checked, and asked me to sign a paper with the instruction not to go out of the house or meet anyone. He told me that I could be arrested if I left the house,” he said.
The patient was officially put under home quarantine as per the protocol adopted by the Lohit district administration.
His swab sample was taken on 31 March evening, and his family was quarantined in a guesthouse near Parshuram Kund.
The result came positive the next day, and he was sent to the isolation ward in Tezu for treatment.
“I did not believe it when the test result came positive,” he said.
“I am worried about my future. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t think people will accept me, so I am very unsure right now. Maybe I’ll have to go to my father’s place in Assam,” he said.
Born near a village in Tezu to a Muslim father and a Hindu mother, the person has been to his father’s birthplace only four times.
His father worked as a contractor, building houses in Tezu in the then undivided Lohit. They came to Medo more than two decades ago.
“I went to Medo primary school, but I was not good in studies,” the patient said.
He dropped out of school to take up various menial jobs, which eventually led him to Delhi in November last year.
“I worked in a jeans-making factory in Delhi. The pay was not good, so I left in February this year. That’s when I called up my friends in Bijnor, who are also Tablighis.
“We attended the 15-16 March congregation before we headed back home,” he said. “I had no idea what was in store for me and the state.”
He said the nurses and the doctors in Tezu are taking care of him and he hopes that the second test will show a negative result.
His second test will be done on Monday.
The patient has not been able to speak to his parents in the last two days because the phone network has gone off in the area where his family is quarantined, as there is no electricity there.