A 50-year-old man in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district allegedly died by suicide on Tuesday over fears that he had contracted the novel coronavirus infection, the Hindustan Times reported.
He was a farmer from Seshamnaidu Kandriga in Thottambedu block and was allegedly disturbed after reading reports about the disease. Officially called COVID-19, the disease has led to 1,115 deaths and there has been nearly 45,000 confirmed cases since it was first reported in January. But of the deaths, only two were outside mainland China.
“He started behaving strangely with us in the last couple of days, after returning from Ruia Hospital in Tirupati, where he underwent treatment for urinary tract infection and common cold last week,” the farmer’s son told the newspaper. “He pelted stones at us asking us not to come anywhere near him as he was infected with coronavirus.”
He hanged himself from a tree near his mother’s grave on Tuesday. The farmer had gone to the hospital in Tirupati on February 5, about four days after he first contracted a cold and fever. The doctors gave him medicines for that as well as a urinary infection and asked him to wear a mask to prevent the cold from spreading.
But when the cold, cough and fever did not go away even after taking medicines, he began to panic, the farmer’s son said. “He thought he got affected from coronavirus, though we told him that the disease was prevalent only in China and affected those who went there,” the son said. “Even other villagers also told him that if he really had coronavirus, the doctors would have quarantined him. My father was worried that the virus would spread to us. He hanged himself to save us.”
No cases of the infection were reported in Andhra Pradesh or Telangana. India reported only three cases of the virus – all in Kerala. All of them are undergoing treatment.