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Survivor’s appeal: Take social distancing seriously

Musthafa Pannikkora, 46, narrates how heeding authorities’ advice ensured his family did not get infected and helped him recover

Published: 11th April 2020 06:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th April 2020 06:26 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: When an urge to see his family took over him, Musthafa Pannikkora didn’t think twice. The expatriate, who runs a cab service in Dubai, took the next flight to Karipur from Sharjah and flew home. That was on March 21. A day later, he developed a temperature, only to test positive for the dreaded coronavirus within a few days. Now, after being discharged from Government Medical College, Manjeri, on April 8 following a complete recovery from Covid-19, Musthafa is thanking the almighty for making him take the decision to come back to his family.

“I had just returned to Dubai on January 29 after a short vacation. I usually return after at least four to five months. This time, I suddenly felt the desire to see them, so I randomly took a flight. I feel blessed to have made the decision. Else, I would have been stuck in Dubai throughout this ordeal,” he said.Musthafa, who has been working in Dubai since 1995, is still not sure where he contracted the virus from. “None of my roommates have any symptoms. It’s likely I got it from the Sharjah airport,” he told TNIE over the phone, while in isolation at his house at Ponmundam near Tirur.

Though Musthafa was discharged after three of his samples tested negative, the doctors have advised him to stay at home for another 14 days. Musthafa, who knows how important social distancing and isolation is to contain the virus, has been sticking to the quarantine religiously.

“If I hadn’t been strictly following the guidelines, my family would have been infected. I didn’t have any symptoms when I reached the Karipur airport. However, the health officials there made me understand the seriousness of the crisis and the need for isolation. When I reached home, I didn’t mingle with my wife or three kids. I went to my room and stayed there,” Musthafa said, recalling how difficult it was to resist his four-year-old son’s attempts to come near him. 

Musthafa started to show signs of fever on the evening of March 22, and by night, he had high temperature. “I also had severe body pain the next morning. I rang up the Ponmundam Primary Health Centre, and the doctor advised me to take a paracetamol tablet and get my blood tested. Though my family wanted to arrange a cab or an autorickshaw, I insisted that I’ll go to the hospital alone in an ambulance,” he said.

“By the time I gave my blood and samples, the fever had subsided and I was starting to feel normal. So, I presumed it was a normal viral infection. On March 28, I got a call from the Health department saying I had tested positive. They asked me to prepare to get admitted to the isolation ward of the medical college at Manjeri,” he said.He was admitted by evening. “I didn’t even have a fever during my stay there. All I had was a runny nose,” he said.

All praise for govt
Musthafa said the state government and the Health department have put in place an excellent mechanism to deal with the crisis. “As responsible citizens, all we need to do is follow the guidelines. That is how we can help fight the spread of the virus,” he said.

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