A 49-year-old man who became Vadodara’s first COVID-19 patient, after having tested positive on March 18, was discharged on Tuesday after 14 days of treatment at SSG hospital in the city.
The businessman, who shuttles between Vadodara and Spain, received a warm welcome from his immediate neighbours who offered him a bouquet of flowers, even as he was escorted by administration and police officials on his arrival.
Sporting a red shirt, white pajamas and a face mask, he requested people to keep a safe distance and allow him to rest owing to a pre-existing gout condition in his left leg.
Speaking to The Indian Express, he said, “When I first reported high fever and doctors referred me to SSG hospital for a COVID-19 test, I was unable to come to terms with it. I hadn’t socialised with anyone from a country where the epidemic is on. When I arrived in India from Spain on March 7, the situation in Spain was very normal. The way the virus has spread so quickly in the last two weeks is scary…”
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He added he may have contracted the virus during his travel.
“I took a flight from Spain to Dubai, then a flight from Dubai to Mumbai and travelled by road to Vadodara. My connecting flight from Dubai might be the culprit…I have a feeling it wasn’t sanitized well. I may have accidentally touched something contaminated on that flight.”
The man has been in the business of olive oil trading for over a decade. The same prompted him to shift base to Spain, where his wife and two children currently live. “My children study there, they are also in lockdown. They are worried about me but I have assured them that I am completely cured now,” he said while standing at the driveway of his house in Makarpura.
The 14-day stay at the government hospital in Vadodara, he said, was a combination of anxiety and hope.
“The doctors and other medical staff are working so hard. Not even for a moment did they allow me to feel morally low… They would only build my hope, despite knowing that it was a new case for them, too. It gave me the courage to fight. Although, every time a patient was brought in for a test or isolation, or a positive case turned up, it would cause a lot of anxiety…I had thought like, what is going on outside? Is it really a bad epidemic here?”
Along with the patient, 11 of his contacts who were quarantined have also been discharged, including a domestic help who worked at his house after he arrived in Vadodara.
He said, “I would like to tell those who are suffering this disease that they will be fine if they stay mentally strong. Everyone has different symptoms; some have fever and some have respiratory issues. I only had high fever.”
The patient has asked to be in home quarantine for 14 days. Authorities will be checking on him everyday and help him out with essential supplies, Vadodara Collector Shalini Agarwal said.
Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?
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