KATHMANDU, March 6: A man who returned from South Korea last week visited the Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital on Tuesday, fearing that he had been infected with the COVID-19. Although the 32-year-old was not showing any flu-like symptoms, he was desperate.
After a regular checkup, the doctors sent him home. “He was not showing any of the symptoms,” Dr Anup Bastola, spokesperson for the hospital, told Republica.
But the man, a permanent resident of Sunsari district, returned to the hospital on Wednesday along with his spouse, insisting that he was indeed infected with the virus. “I am infected. Please save me!” Bastola quoted him as saying.
“The incident just shows how people are panicking. Although the Korea returnee was counseled by the doctors, he was not reassured,” Bastola said, adding that misinformation had spread panic.
As the distraught man would not calm down, the doctors took him to the isolation ward for more counselling. They also took his throat swab.
But on Thursday morning, the man had vanished from the hospital. The hospital searched for him and also informed the police.
It is thought that the man took to his heels out of fear that he would be quarantined for 15 days if he tested positive. “The doctors had talked about a 15-day quarantine while taking the patient to the isolation ward. He may have fled the hospital for fear of being quarantined,” Bastola said.
“He was phobic about COVID-19. It is also learnt that the man left Korea out of fear of being infected,” Bastola added.
Meanwhile, three suspect cases of the new coronavirus have been discharged from the Teku hospital after they tested negative. Two new suspects – a male and a female – were admitted to the isolation ward, Thursday.
The COVID-19 epidemic has already killed more than 3,300 people, infecting almost 100,000. The virus has been found in 86 countries.
Meanwhile, Kathmandu District Administration Office on Thursday urged people to not organize gatherings and public activities until further notice. It has also urged people to avoid crowds during the upcoming Holi festival on Monday.