A 34-year-old south Mumbai resident, who has recovered from the coronavirus disease but remains in self-isolation, said his neighbours had threatened to get his 64-year-old father arrested and thrown out of the housing society after he had tested positive for the virus last month.
“I would have expected them (the neighbours) to support my father and not ostracise him. If they had said or done nothing at all, it would have been golden. But this is the reality of the day… They (the neighbours) went out of their way and threatened to put my father behind bars,” said the man, who lives with his father and domestic help, both of whom had tested negative for the virus.
The man, who was in the hospital between March 27 and April 3 after he was found COVID-19 positive and was discharged from the hospital after testing negative twice, said he will remain in home isolation till April 17, which would be a month since his return from the UK, where he had travelled for work. “It is like the flu, but with severe symptoms,” he said.
The man said he had home quarantined himself on his return from the UK. “It is when I felt shortness of breath that I called the hospital. That shortness of breath was like nothing I had felt before. I got a call from Kasturba hospital, and I answered all their questions for about an hour. They were satisfied with my answers and I was advised to get admitted to a hospital. I was in the hospital from March 27 to April 3. I was discharged after two negative tests,” he said, stressing that that virus was “not a death sentence”.
His family has been residing in their south Mumbai home since his grandfather first moved into the building in the 1960s. Their neighbours have known them for at least two decades.
“The person who threatened my father is in fact only three years elder to me. Her father and mine are friends,” he said. “It would have been common decency to at least ask how I am doing. All that they asked my father was where did your son go, when did he return, has his report come, should we disinfect the building, but no one cared to find out if I was okay. Even if you have an agenda, you can have some humanity,” he said.
He added that while the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had released a containment zone report, his name should not have been disclosed. “I got hundreds of calls after that asking me if I was COVID-19 positive. This is my privacy. The BMC may want to protect other citizens from the spread but even my privacy needed to be protected… I felt betrayed by my own government,” he said.
The man, who had earlier posted a detailed post on social media recounting his ordeal, said that his post was not written in anger or frustration. “I had put a lot of thought into it,” he said. Since his return home, there has been no confrontation with neighbours. “I shamed the people who ostracised me and my family and took control of my own narrative. Nobody has said anything since,” he told The Indian Express.
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