On their 25th anniversary, this Pune couple had decided to take their daughter on a trip to Dubai. While the trip, which happened in a group of 40, went off well, what happened on their return earlier this month was certainly not part of their plan. The couple, a 51-year-old man and his 46-year-old wife, was the first in Maharashtra to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease.
A day later, their 24-year-old daughter tested positive as well, as did the driver of the taxi they had taken to travel from Mumbai airport to Pune. In quarantine at the state-run Naidu Hospital for the last 12 days, the family is now keenly awaiting their two-week isolation to get over, their initial nervousness having given way to optimism and relief.
“Look, if we want to survive and stay here for 14 days, we may as well laugh and bond with each other, and get to know each other better,” says the man who works at a private firm in Pune. His daughter, who works at a software firm, the upshot of the entire episode was that she got to spend lot of time with her parents. “Otherwise we are always busy at office or with friends,” she says.
Maharashtra now has 63 positive cases, the highest for any state in the country. Fifteen of them are fellow travellers of this family, all part of a group of 40, on the Dubai trip. The travellers came from different towns of the state. The group had returned together on March 1.
The man said the initial few days after testing positive were tough for the family. “We faced some criticism as well. For the first five days, we were kept in separate rooms at the isolation ward of Naidu Hospital. Then we were shifted in the same room in a four-storeyed building on the campus,” he says.
Their son had also been tested for the disease, but he had not acquired it. However, since the entire family was at the hospital, he too moved to another room at the hospital, since their home too required to be disinfected.
“So far, he has made most of this situation by studying or video conferencing with friends but now he is getting really annoyed,” says the father. The doctors have agreed to discharge him, but then it is better ishe stays on the first floor of the hospital where enough distance is maintained between the beds in the ward.
While there are three other coronavirus patients in another room on the same third floor of the building, this family stays together in a different room. “We have not been allowed to leave the room. After five days of isolation in the separate rooms, now I am with my parents and yes, making the most of it,” the daughter said, adding that they can only made WhatsApp calls to her brother.
“They make me listen to spiritual songs, but really I do not mind. As for entertaining myself, I have my phone and Netflix,” she said, adding that her parents read books and walk on the terrace . Doctors visit them four times in a day and nurses attend to them by checking for fever. The hospital provides food and the rooms and toilets are really clean, she said.
Health authorities say the family will be tested again after completion of their 14-day period, and if found negative, they would be discharged.
“My parents are quite fit. My mother does her daily yoga exercises while dad walks a lot. Plus, we are updated on what’s happening in the world despite being in a single room for so many days. The situation is getting worse globally and after getting discharged, we plan to stay at home for another 15 days before venturing out,” says the daughter. “The 25th anniversary of my parents has turned out to be truly remarkable, one that we will surely not forget,” she quips.
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