A 32-year-old Delhi Police constable died Tuesday evening, six hours after he was tested for coronavirus following complaints of breathlessness, slight fever and cough. On Wednesday afternoon, constable Amit Kumar’s test report came back positive.
Kumar, who hailed from Haryana’s Sonepat, is the first Delhi Police personnel to have died of the virus. His brother-in-law said Kumar “was a healthy 32-year-old man who did not suffer from any ailments and was, in fact, working till Monday”.
Four police personnel of the Northwest district, where he was deployed, and seven from the Crime Records Office, who Kumar came in contact with, have been quarantined, said DCP (Northwest) Vijayanta Arya.
“Kumar reported for duty on Monday and was fine. He felt a little sick in the evening, and then again on Tuesday. He was sent for testing, and returned to his colleague’s home. In the evening, he suddenly fell sick, and died on his way to RML hospital,” Arya said.
The Indian Express spoke to two of his colleagues, who were with him since Monday. They alleged that Kumar was turned away from two hospitals, which asked for a coronavirus test before admitting him. “On Monday, I met him in the morning and he was driving around for work. In the evening, he came to our residence in Nehru Vihar and complained of feeling uneasy and cold, and decided to stay back at our house instead of his room in Mukherjee Nagar. Late at night, he was breathless. We gave him warm water, he felt better and slept off. In the morning, he couldn’t breathe again, and we left home at 8 am to take him to a hospital,” said one of the personnel.
The men claimed that at 8 am, they took Kumar to the Delhi Police Haiderpur Covid testing centre but realised that he can only be tested but not admitted there. “Kumar couldn’t even stand, he had difficulty breathing, so we were referred to Baba Saheb Ambedkar hospital. We stood in a queue for a long time with him, and then the Bharat Nagar SHO spoke to a doctor there. The doctor said he can be tested here but can’t be admitted in case he is Covid positive.
We pleaded with the doctor, all his symptoms suggested he had coronavirus. We wasted two and a half hours there,” said one of Kumar’s colleagues.
Ambedkar hospital director, Dr Manmohan Kohli, who is under quarantine, did not respond to calls and messages sent by The Indian Express.
After this, the two men said, they took Kumar to Deep Chand Bandhu hospital in Bharat Nagar, and a duty officer was sent there by the SHO. “A doctor there said we need to take him to a testing facility in Ashok Vihar. We reached there around 1.30-2 pm where we had to plead with doctors to conduct the test, as they had done their day’s share and were refusing to. Finally, the test was done, and we were advised to take him back home and take care of him there,” said one of the personnel.
According to the officials at Deep Chand Bandhu hospital, the officer came to the flu centre of the hospital with a constable. “We collected the samples and his saturation rate was around 95 per cent, which was not alarming. He was advised to go to RML hospital for further treatment,” said an official from the hospital.
DCP Arya said that no such recommendation was made by the hospital.
The three returned to the Nehru Vihar house, and the men claimed he was doing better after he took some medicines. He also spoke to his wife, who lives in Sonepat. “Around 6.45-7 pm, his condition deteriorated. He couldn’t walk, he was breathless, lifeless. We lifted him in our arms and climbed down five floors and put him in the car. The SHO was also informed, and he got in touch with a doctor at RML hospital and we rushed there. He was conscious in the car for a little while, we told him ‘bhai, haunsla rakh’, and he kept saying ‘theek hai’. We were just two kilometres away when he lost all consciousness. He was declared dead on arrival,” said one of the two personnel.
A spokesperson from Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital said: “The patient was brought dead to the hospital. While the family claimed he has been tested positive for Covid-19, we collected fresh samples for testing. The cause of death will be ascertained once the reports are out.”
Kumar is survived by his wife Pooja (26) and their three-year-old son Viaan. He joined the force in 2010 and was posted at Bharat Nagar police station.
Kumar’s brother-in-law Ravi alleged: “He would have been alive had he received timely treatment. We haven’t yet told his wife; she thinks he is on a ventilator. This is devastating news. He was fit and healthy, he had no ailments. He left for Delhi on Saturday, after spending 10 days in Sonepat.”
One of his colleagues, who is now quarantined at a hotel, said: “We saw the light go out in less than 24 hours. From a healthy man working till Monday to dying on Tuesday evening. We are in shock.”
Delhi Commissioner of Police S N Srivastava said, “The sudden demise of late Constable Amit Kumar has saddened the police fraternity. We stand by his family in this hour of grief and pray to the almighty to provide strength to bear this loss. All assistance to his family will be provided.”
(With inputs from Astha Saxena)
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