THRISSUR: India's first coronavirus patient tested positive on January 30 and was discharged on February 20. So, what was her experience?
"I was not afraid when I got the symptoms, but rather I was alert. Since my parents were more vulnerable, I strictly followed the instructions which helped in surviving the infection," the 20-year-old medical student from Thrissur in Kerala, who was diagnosed with the coronavirus infection a week after her arrival from Wuhan in China, recounted.
The third-year medical student had reached Kochi by flight on January 24.
"We had filled a form there noting our whereabouts and the form had instructed us to report our arrival to the respective health officials in our region. Being medical students, we were strict about following the guidelines," she said.
As a precaution, she had urged her sister-in-law, who was pregnant, to move out of the house before her arrival as well. On January 25, she reported her arrival to the district health officials who recorded it and followed up.
After arrival, the girl was in house quarantine and wore masks, but she experienced a sore throat on January 27.
"I used to get a cold or fever every time I came back from China. My relatives advised me to try inhaling steam or take general medicines to get rid of the sore throat, but I insisted on approaching the doctor. I just wanted to know whether it was Coronavirus or not. I was more concerned about my parents and relatives and didn't want to remain at home without knowing what exactly I had," she said.
When the health officials were contacted, they urged her to come to the district general hospital.
There were four other people under isolation there. Blood samples, throat swabs, nasal swab, urine and stool samples were taken for tests.
The confirmation of the infection came on January 30 and she was shifted to Thrissur Medical College Hospital isolation ward the following day.
"I had to undergo isolation for over 20 days and sometimes it was difficult for me as well. In the first two weeks, I didn't feel anything unusual. Every day, the trained staff took my dresses and burned it to prevent the spread of infection. I was instructed to sanitise my phone, which I used to do during my days in China. Since I didn't have other medical issues, the doctors allowed me to have the food of my choice," she added.
Despite understanding the importance of isolation, at times, she was not able to cope with the strict protocol.
"I was curious why my sample results didn't come back while those of others kept coming even after two weeks of treatment. But, talking to the counsellors made me feel better. They gave me tips like breathing exercises to follow when I felt bad or depressed," she said.
She was discharged from hospital on February 20, but remained in home quarantine until March 1.
With the recent developments of COVID-19 in the state, all that she wants to say is the importance of following the protocols.
"The sooner you report to the Health Department, the better it is. The timely intervention and right support helped me in recovering soon and also prevented the virus from spreading," she said.
Since the Coronavirus threat still prevails in China, the university has been conducting online classes for students across the globe.
She has been continuing her course by making use of the online facility and would return only if the travel clearance is issued.