'Stop harassing her': TN woman approached hospital on her own, didn't resist quarantine, says friend

After her family being harassed based on social media rumours, friends of the 25-year-old Coimbatore woman, who tested positive for COVID-19, have come forward to set the record straight. 


Published: 25th March 2020 01:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th March 2020 01:07 AM   |  A+A-

Health department screening passengers with thermal screening at the special medical help desk created at the Coimbatore Railway Junction on Monday to find symptoms of coronavirus. (Photo | A Raja Chidambaram/EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: After her family harassed over social media rumours, friends of the 25-year-old Coimbatore woman, who tested positive for COVID-19, have come forward to set the record straight. 

Rumours and media reports alleged that the student, who returned from Spain, had refused to stay under quarantine. Further, government health personnel and department's official bulletin allegedly shared misinformation about the young woman's movements. 

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On Tuesday, sources close to her said she was upset by such reports. More so as her personal details, including photos of the building in which she resides, are being shared on social media. The woman is being treated at the isolation ward at ESI hospital and is stable. She is trying to write exams as part of her college course, amid the stress of the illness and online harassment.

Fed up, her friend Poorani Balendra took to Twitter on Tuesday to clarify that contrary to various media reports, the woman arrived in New Delhi on March 14, flew to Bengaluru on the same day and arrived in Coimbatore on March 15 by train, rather than by flight as indicated in Health department bulletin on Monday. 

Balendra, who works at a Chennai NGO, said as soon as the woman disembarked from the train at Coimbatore junction, she walked across to the Government Hospital in Gopalapuram as she had developed a high fever overnight. At the hospital, she was asked a set of routine questions and was told that, as she did not have any COVID-19  symptoms, she could go home. Nonetheless, she quarantined herself for three days, at the end of which she felt 'completely fine', Balendra said. However, once she learnt her classmate in Spain had tested positive for COVID-19, she approached Coimbatore Medical College Hospital where she was admitted.  

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"She did not abscond as is being rumoured," Balendra said on Twitter. According to his tweets, before the test results came, the woman had complained about the quarantine conditions in the government hospital as all those isolated had to share a common bathroom. She feared this would spread the infection. Balendra added that at a time when her friend was recovering, she was being "subjected to hate messages on local WhatsApp groups based on rumours".

Health department officials claimed the woman was initially advised to stay quarantined at her house as the doctors did not find any symptoms of viral infection. They admitted that she had visited CMCH on her own after her classmate in Spain tested positive for the virus. A senior health department official said, "The girl voluntarily came for the test and was not reluctant. It was during her second visit that her samples were tested." 

'Persons who travelled with her identified'
Officials admitted that she had reached Coimbatore from Bengaluru by the Yesvantpur Cannanore Express and not flight as indicated in the State health department's Monday bulletin. She took the train at Bengaluru at 8pm on March 14 and reached Coimbatore at 3.20am on March 15. Coimbatore officials said they had already identified those who travelled in the same compartment as her and were tracing those who lived in the district. Details of those who lived elsewhere had been forwarded to State health officials in Chennai to trace.


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