Co-travellers of corona patient self-isolating at home

Srinagar: Almost 40 fellow Umrah pilgrims from Kashmir were travelling alongside the Srinagar woman tested positive for novel coronavirus in the flight from Jeddah that landed at Srinagar airport on March 16. After news reached them that one of their co-travellers had been tested positive, most of them self-isolated themselves at their homes and are yet to undergo any tests for coronavirus.
A group leader of the Umrah pilgrims, Muhammad Kifayat Ullah, told Kashmir Reader that no team of doctors or officials has visited them so far.
“It’s unfortunate that the administration failed to help us despite us being in contact with the elderly woman. It was mandatory for them to track us for testing or facilitating our isolation,” he said.
“I called a few helpline numbers of Deputy Commissioner Srinagar’s office and asked them to send a doctors’ team to screen and isolate all Umrah pilgrims who were part of my group. But the operator on the other side spoke rudely rather than helping,” he said.
According to Kifayat, he received cold response from the administration after which he locked himself in a separate room away from his family.
“I have asked other members of the group also to self isolate themselves because I think the administration is not in a mood to help us,” he said.
Kifayat’s parents were also part of the Umrah group. They have also locked themselves in separate rooms.
“We hardly see each other now since the day the woman was tested positive. We have also asked our relatives including my two sisters to go home,” he said.
His brother-in-law delivers packed food for them outside their rooms and the family collects the packet after the relative goes away.
“It’s a distressing situation for us. I can’t see my parents nowadays. My mother is already unwell, she needs extra care and proper medicine but it is difficult for me to track her health,” Kifayat said.
The Bemina resident said that nearly 78 Umrah pilgrims had landed at Srinagar airport on Wednesday including his family and the Khanyar woman.
“All of them walked out of the airport without being quarantined by the health officials,” he said.
Shadab Ahmad Shah, another co-traveller of the Khanyar woman, said a health department official came to his house today after a delay of two days.
“They checked my symptoms and gave a few tips and left. They told me that I don’t need any admission in hospital,” he said.
“Now I have self-isolated myself. I don’t interact with my family or friends. It is an abnormal situation,” Shah said.
“The health officials at the help desk were callous in their approach. Otherwise, they would have screened us and quarantined us immediately after arrival. But, they let us go home,” he said.
Meanwhile, the group leader told Kashmir Reader that the Khanyar woman who tested positive for the virus had come in contact with many travellers on the way from Jeddah airport.
He said the group changed three Air India flights and reached Srinagar via Kochi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi and Chandigarh.
“Unfortunately, we were not quarantined at any airport,” the group leader said.
He said some people from Srinagar Municipal Corporation came to his house and sprayed some chemical on the main gate.
“I was saddened to watch their work. It was more of a mockery. It seems the administration is interested only in earning out of this emergency by purchasing disinfectants in bulk,” Kifayat said.
Director Health Kashmir Dr Samir Matoo said that the health department has got the list of co-travellers of the Khanyar woman and the department will reach out to them as soon as possible.
“We also encourage them to come forward voluntarily and contact our control room numbers: 0194-24402283, 9419010363. We will provide all necessary help to them,” he said.
“We are also sending teams to different localities to identify suspect cases, especially those who have travel history to affected countries. We are sending ambulances to their house and admitting them in hospital if they show some symptoms of coronavirus,” Dr Matoo said.

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