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FACT CHECK: No, Covid19 infected techie's wife did not flee from quarantine in Bangalore

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As per the sequence of events shared by the family, the wife did not leave the Bengaluru airport and her husband did not test positive for COVID-19 until 12 March.

Amid the Covid19 outbreak in India, a report was published, both online and offline, by Times of India (It has now been updated) titled, "Infected techie’s wife fled B’luru by air, took Del-Agra train, tests +ve." 

Image courtesy: Twitter

The media house has subsequently stated that the wife who had fled Bengaluru to reach Agra also tested positive for the coronavirus. According to the report, the couple returned from their honeymoon in Italy and was put under quarantine after the husband showed symptoms of the disease. However, the wife escaped from Bengaluru on 8 March, took a flight to New Delhi, and then went to Agra to be with her parents.

The report stated that the techie, a Google employee, had been tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) on 7 March. The dates, as the disclaimer on the updated digital report suggests, came from the Agra health officials. The updated report says that techie was tested positive on 12 March. The last update to the report was made at 22:05 IST on 14 March.

The report has accused the wife of the Google employee of resisting the attempt of the health officials to take her and eight other family members to isolation wards. The report added that only after the intervention of the district magistrate and police force that she, along with her family members, could be taken to an isolation ward. 

The report accused the father of the lady, of not cooperating with the team of health officials and that he also lied that his daughter had left for Bengaluru.

The report filed from Agra had other details such as the couple’s return date. The couple became the target of demeaning and disrespectful, As the news is being widely circulated on social media

However, a report published by Swarajya states that Times of India’s report is misleading and false as it has presented an incorrect sequence of events. According to the report, Swarajya reached out to the brother of the infected techie, who revealed the actual sequence of events, on the condition of anonymity.

He stated that his brother had got married sometime in mid-February. The couple then traveled to Athens, Greece, from Delhi for their honeymoon on 23 February.

Image courtesy: Swarajya

The techie's brother further stated that the couple never went to Italy in the first place, as reported by the Times of India. He said that his elder brother and sister-in-law traveled to Greece, Switzerland, and France, and took a flight on 6 March 2020, from Paris, France, to Mumbai. The flight had a small layover in Munich, Germany. The couple returned to Mumbai on 6 March midnight, while the TOI report stated the couple had returned on 27 February.

Image courtesy: Swarajya

The younger brother clarified that 'the couple had passed through the screening process at the Mumbai airport', where they were checked for body temperature and signs of flu. The couple cleared the screening process and spent the weekend at their parents' residence in Navi Mumbai. On 8 March evening, the couple took a flight from Mumbai to Bengaluru. The flight was to land at night in Bengaluru. According to the younger brother, until then, the techie had no signs of flu.

Contrary to the TOI's report, the couple did not leave the airport as the wife of the techie was scheduled to leave for Delhi from the Bengaluru airport at 01:40 am (9 March), and thus did not escape any quarantine facility. Due to their excessive luggage from their honeymoon, they decided to fly together to Bengaluru, instead of the wife directly leaving for Delhi.

Image courtesy: Swarajya

The techie brother added that his sister-in-law left for Agra to be with her family for her first Holi after marriage. It is a prevailing tradition in many parts of the country where the girl spends her first Holi after the marriage, not at her in-laws, but at her parents’ place.

The techie returned home after his wife departed for Delhi, and he also did not show any signs of fever, the younger brother confirmed. Therefore, when the wife left Bengaluru, it was not known that her husband had caught the coronavirus infection.

On 9th March morning, the techie reported to his office in Bengaluru. The same morning, Google also conducted an internal screening process where they did not permit anyone with a temperature higher than normal to work and even then also, the techie passed this process and was allowed into the office premises.

However, a few hours later, he started complaining of a headache, which he believed to be due to lack of sleep. Later, he returned home merely three-four hours later and by evening he was running a high fever. When normal flu medicine did not provide any relief, the techie was accompanied by his brother to the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases in Jayanagar, Bengaluru. In the evening, the techie voluntarily submitted the necessary samples for testing. They were also told that they would be reached out to within 24-hours if anything risk worthy was found in the testing.

The next day, on the evening of 11 March, the techie got a call from the doctor who told him that he was being moved to a hospital as they were suspecting him to be positive for COVID-19. However, the confirmation of the infection only came by 12 March noon. Till then, the brother also stayed at home as he was asked to be in self-quarantine and report if he too suffered from any symptoms.

Image courtesy: Swarajya

Image courtesy: Swarajya

Soon after the medical team in Agra was informed about the report, they reached the residence of techie’s wife, who had already by then was in Agra. They requested her and her family to accompany them for testing. However, upon reaching the premises, the techie’s wife, to her dismay, discovered that the place was filthy and reeking of bad smell, according to them.

Image courtesy: Swarajya

Health officials in Agra allowed the wife and her family to return home and be in isolation. Her first samples were collected on 12 March. On 13th March, the health officials returned to her place and requested her and the family to accompany them to the isolation ward. As the wife of the techie knowing the hygiene conditions of the facility, she resisted being in the ward.

As per the updated report of TOI, the techie tested positive on March 12. The wife of the techie was already in Agra on 9 March itself. It can be said that when the wife traveled to Agra, she was not even aware that her husband had contacted the coronavirus.

According to techie's brother, Dr. Mukesh Kumar Vats, Chief Medical Officer of Agra, had promised his sister-in-law that her concerns would be taken care of.

The lady was later moved to a better facility, but the family was required to move to the ward provided earlier. While the first test conducted on the wife of the techie on 12 March afternoon was inconclusive and showed no signs of her being positive for COVID-19, a second test was conducted on 14 March and the results of the same are still awaited. Her family has tested negative for COVID-19.

TOI report blames the couple for being irresponsible and singles out the wife of the techie for flying from Bengaluru to Delhi after escaping a quarantine facility, which has made the family a target of online hate. However, as per the sequence of events shared by the family, the wife did not leave the Bengaluru airport and her husband did not test positive for COVID-19 until 12 March.

Also, according to a report published by LiveMint, Karnataka Medical Education Minister K.Sudhakar stated that the wife of the virus-affected techie from Bengaluru did not flee as she did not leave the Airport in the first place. 

At the time of writing this report, the wife of the techie is still not tested positive for the coronavirus and rattled by the hate she, her husband, and her family received online. Meanwhile, the techie is stable and is undergoing treatment for COVID-19.

As per the report, the Wife and father-in-law of the techie have been booked under the Epidemics Act.

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