Facing pressure and boycott from a housing-society in Dharavi, a 17-year-old girl pleaded with state and city authorities to test her and and her family for COVID-19. The 44-year-old father of the girl died on April 29, two days after testing positive for coronavirus in Mumbai hospital.
The family members of the man — including his 70-year-old mother, 42-year-old wife, two kids (17-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son) — were put in 14-day home quarantine, as they had no symptoms and were living in a multi-storey apartment with good sanitation facilities.
However, a week after the death of the man, the family started facing pressure and boycott from the housing society to get COVID-19 test done at the earliest. In a video appeal on a social media platform on May 2, the girl said, “There are some residents from our society who are unhappy with us staying here instead of a government facility. They feel that we might be a problem for them, they are pressurising us to get tested and leave. I believe people should help each other in such times and not mentally harass.”
With the BMC’s new regulations, contacts of COVID-19 patients are not tested unless they show symptoms. “My 70-year-old grandmother lives with us, so we don’t want to take risk. We already took one risk (with my father’s life). We request authorities to test us on an urgent basis,” she added in the video.
The family lives two building away from a containment zone in Dharavi.
On April 12, after her father developed fever, he visited Sion hospital, where doctors diagnosed that he had viral infection and prescribed medicines.
However, since the fever was recurring, the family took him to Sion hospital, again. The doctor conducted an X-ray examination and sent him back home. “My father took all precautions since April 12. He started maintaining distance from us,” said the 17-year-old.
Few days later after he experienced shortness of breath, the family rushed him to JJ hospital, where authorities directed the family to St George hospital, which in turn directed them to GT hospital, citing lack of beds. GT hospital admitted the man on April 25 and collected swab for COVID-19 test. Two days later, the test result came positive and the family was asked to be in home quarantine while the BMC sanitised their apartment and the housing society.
“The BMC has been following with us daily and has asked us to report if we develop any symptoms. Ration and vegetables were also provided to us. However, we have a senior citizen in our house and thus it is urgent that we all are tested at the earliest,” the girl told The Indian Express. She added that she has developed mild cold and informed the civic authorities.
On Monday, a civic official from the G-north ward assured the family that they will be shifted to an institutional quarantine.
Meanwhile, Dharavi on Monday reported 42 new coronavirus positive cases, taking the tally to 632 cases in the last 35 days. As many as 20 deaths have been reported from Dharavi so far.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines