Rumour forces 23-year-old COVID-19 patient out of city

Updated: Jul 04, 2020, 07:44 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

She's in home quarantine on BMC's instruction, but neighbours claimed she refused to go the hospital

This picture has been used for representation purpose
This picture has been used for representation purpose

A 23-year-old woman from Mulund East not only suffered the trauma of having contracted a deadly virus, she had to face the unsympathetic neighbours who circulated a rumour that she was refusing to get admitted to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

The woman tested positive for the novel Coronavirus on June 25 and went to a nearby facility for institutional quarantine, but was asked to self isolate at home if she could maintain a safe distance from her family members. The instruction was based on the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research, which states that those with mild symptoms should home quarantine to reduce the burden on the healthcare system.

"A COVID-19 screening camp was held nearby last month, so I went as I had mild fever. My swabs were collected and on June 25, my test report came back positive for COVID-19," the woman said. She said the BMC officials asked about her accommodation and she informed her that her family owns two houses on the same lane and that she can isolate herself in one of them.

She followed the BMC's instructions and quarantined herself in one of her homes, but soon a rumour started floating around the neighbourhood that she had tested positive but refused to go to a hospital.

"Somebody even called the police. Some officers came to my house and I explained everything to them. They then warned the residents against spreading any misinformation," she said. "But the people didn't stop. They continued to spread the rumour, so I went to the BMC centre and requested that they admit me, but they denied as I didn't have any major symptoms," she added.

Tired of having been subjected to such humiliation by her own neighbours, she packed her bag on June 29 and left for her hometown in Konkan. "Finally, I felt enough is enough. I took my car and drove to my hometown with my mother. I am under a 14-day quarantine here, but I am at peace at last," she said.

Advocate Sagar Devre, local resident and MNS leader, told mid-day, "We had spoken to the neighbours and tried to make them understand what was exactly the matter, but they didn't budge. In fact, they went ahead spreading misinformation about the poor girl."

Devre said the BMC isn't doing much to create awareness about home quarantine. He added that the BMC doesn't even keep a track of those in self-isolation. "It was me who informed the BMC that the woman had gone to her hometown. Moreover, the society also needs to understand this is a pandemic, and they shouldn't torture patients."

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