A masked woman alights an empty bus parked at a bus stand in Kerala. Awaiting her outside, are two health care workers in COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), an ambulance and police officials. Several onlookers too are seen standing at a distance from the bus
As soon as she steps out, the health officials approach her and attempt to shift the woman to the waiting ambulance and take her to a hospital. However they are met with stiff resistance as the woman even slaps one of the health workers.
The incident described above took place in Kottaramattom bus stand in Kottayam’s Pala town. It has now gone viral on social media and many users have claimed that the woman was a “COVID-19 patient who was found missing from her house and instead spotted in a bus in Pala, creating panic.”
Some users even demanded that she should be arrested for assaulting COVID-19 healthcare staff.
TNM spoke to authorities in Pala who confirmed that the social media posts were unfounded and said that this was not the case.
Speaking to TNM, Dr Anju C Mathew, Superintendent of the Pala General Hospital said that the woman in the video was a migrant worker and not a patient who had tested positive for the coronavirus. The senior doctor also said that the woman was found to be living with mental health issues.
“We were alerted about this woman a few days ago by locals, who found her roaming near a bus stand in Pala. Immediately, health workers from Pala General Hospital and officers from the Pala Police Station reached the spot and shifted her to our hospital,” Dr Anju added.
On reaching the hospital, she was found to exhibit no symptoms of COVID-19.
“Therefore, for expert consultation we referred her to doctors in Kottayam Medical College hospital. She is currently admitted at the Kottayam Medical College (KMC) and is receiving treatment there,” Anju said.
“We could not identify the language she spoke. We have not yet received any report which confirms that she is COVID-19 positive,” the superintendent added.