Kerala man isolated for COVID-19 misses father’s funeral – yet urges others to report

Lino Abel had reported himself to test for coronavirus at the Kottayam Medical Medical College, and had to watch the funeral on video conference.
Kerala man isolated for COVID-19 misses father’s funeral – yet urges others to report
Kerala man isolated for COVID-19 misses father’s funeral – yet urges others to report
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At 10.30 pm on March 9, Lino Abel’s father breathed his last at the Kottayam Medical College. But Lino, who had just returned from Qatar a day before, and was admitted to the same hospital, could not see his dad one last time, as he was in the isolation ward for suspected coronavirus. The next day, he saw his dad’s lifeless form over a video call, just before the funeral. Despite this, he has written on Facebook asking people to self-report and be on home quarantine or medical isoaltion.

“Achachan (Dad) died of a stroke that night. I asked if I could see him from the isolation ward and was advised that it is not a good idea in this situation. I could only cry. It was terrible that I was so close by and could not see him,” Lino writes on a Facebook post on Thursday, when he is still under observation at the isolation ward.

It was on the morning of March 7 that he heard from his brother about their father’s fall from the bed in the middle of the night. Their dad was taken from their home in Thodupuzha to the Kottayam Medical College, and was in a critical condition, the brother told him. Lino took leave from his company in Qatar – Beeglobal Production – and landed in Kochi airport the next morning. His temperature was normal then and he bought an N95 mask on reaching Thodupuzha. But he had heard a lot about coronavirus and had a fear about putting other people at risk. He didn’t touch anyone and kept a distance from everyone.  At the Kottayam Medical College, he spoke to his brother but decided not to see his dad who was then on ventilator support.

A little later when Lino started coughing and there was an irritation in his throat, he debated with himself about reporting to the coronavirus section of the hospital. “At first I thought no need, but when I thought about my family and the people around me, I decided to report to the section,” he writes.

The doctor told him how the virus had spread in Qatar, before taking him to the isolation ward. It was that night that his father passed away.

The next morning, his father’s postmortem took place in a room right in front of the isolation ward. Afterward, Lino watched through the window of his room, as the ambulance carried his father's mortal remains to their home in the afternoon.

“Perhaps if I had not reported myself, I could have seen my Achachan. It is because I was determined not to be the reason to spread the disease to my family and others around me if I had it, that I could not see my father,” Lino writes, but does not stop there. He urges other Non Resident Indians to report themselves to the nearest medical office. “If you keep aside a few days for this, you can live happily with your family afterward.”

“Isolation ward is not a concentration camp,” he writes.

At the time of the post – March 12, 7.10 pm – he is still in the ward, awaiting the results of his test. Lino says he expects a negative result but that he might be sadder if it is indeed negative. He doesn’t write the obvious – that a negative result would mean he had no disease and that he missed saying goodbye to his father one last time for no reason.

Watch: Here's another man in isolation ward who urges people to report

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