A 29-year-old man in Kerala volunteered to be placed in isolation after returning from coronavirus-hit Qatar instead of attending to his ailing father who died the following day, The Telegraph reported on Sunday. Doha-based photographer Lino Abel also received praise from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who said it was an example of “exemplary courage and social commitment”.
In a Facebook post on March 12, the man narrated the sequence of events from when he was told about his father’s sudden fall and subsequent hospitalisation. On March 8, Abel came back from Qatar to tend to his father, but chose to go into isolation at the same hospital after he developed a few flu-like symptoms.
Abel’s father, Abel Ouseph, was admitted to the Government Medical College in Kottayam after he fell from the bed. Ouseph had a heart condition, and had suffered internal bleeding due to the fall. “Achachan [Dad] died of a stroke that night [March 9],” his post read, according to The News Minute. “I asked if I could see him from the isolation ward and was advised that it is not a good idea in this situation. I could only cry. It was terrible that I was so close by and could not see him.”
Meanwhile, the Doha-based photographer did not have fever when the health desk at Kochi airport screened him but developed a cough and a sore throat on his way back home. He immediately went to get get himself checked into the coronavirus ward.
“If I had not reported myself, I could’ve seen my dad for one last time,” his Facebook post read, according to PTI. “But I did not, because I decided not to spread the disease in case I was affected. The expats here please report to the health authorities. If you can spare a few days, you can spend rest of your time happily with your family.”
Abel said he could only glance at his father’s body from the window of the hospital as it was being driven out in an ambulance after the postmortem on March 9.
Following the news of Abel’s decision to self-quarantine, Vijayan hailed the photographer’s conscientiousness. “The youth travelled all the way to visit his father at hospital,” Vijayan said. “Though he reached here, he was unable to meet his father. He showed exemplary courage and social commitment and responsibility by getting quarantined on his own.”
Governor Arif Mohammad Khan also offered his condolences. “Heard about Lino Abel, who couldn’t attend the funeral of his dear father Shri Abel Ouseph, as he chose to stay in isolation ward for suspected Covid-19 infection,” he tweeted on Saturday. “I share Lino’s grief and appreciate his sacrifice for the people of Kerala”
On Saturday, the photographer tested negative for coronavirus, and was discharged by the afternoon, reported The Times of India. Following this, he went to St Mary’s Church in Kalayanthani, where Ouseoh was laid to rest. On receiving the results, Abel said in a Facebook post: “I don’t know whether I am happy or sad.”
India has decided to treat coronavirus as a notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund. The number of positive cases in the country as of Sunday has risen to 107 with Maharashtra and Kerala reporting the most numbers.