Following social media scare on COVID-19, Karnataka man with no symptoms commits suicide

Darshan Devaiah BP
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The Karnataka health department has started the coronavirus helpline where people can contact and get counseling and information about the pandemic.

Following panic and scare on social media over COVID-19, a 56-year-old man in Karnataka’s Udupi district committed suicide Wednesday. According to the district police, a man identified as Gopalakrishna, an employee in Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), was found hanging from a tree in the backyard of his house in Uppoor village in the district’s Brahmavara taluk.

According to police, Gopalakrishna left a suicide note saying he had contracted the COVID-19 disease and asked his family to be safe. Speaking to Indianexpress.com, a police officer from Brahmavara Police Station said, "According to the preliminary investigation, he had committed suicide after reading extensively about coronavirus on social media which led to the fear about the pandemic and mentally depressed."

Quoting a family member's statement, police said the man didn't have any symptoms of the novel coronavirus. The man spoke to his family about the virus a night before he committed suicide. When his wife didn't find him in his room the next morning at 5:30 am, she assumed he might have gone for a walk. When he did not return, his family began to search, only to find him hanging from a tree.

Read | 21-day lockdown: Is India prepared to meet the supply requirements of foodstuffs?

The police have sent the body for postmortem at KMC hospital in Manipal and are waiting for the autopsy report.

The Karnataka health department has started the coronavirus helpline where people can contact and get counseling and information about the pandemic. People can contact the helpline numbers 104 (Arogya Sahayavani), 080-46848600, 080-6692000 for assistance.

As on Wednesday, Karnataka recorded ten new cases of COVID-19 — in what is the highest single-day rise in the number of positive coronavirus cases in the state. The total positive cases in the state is now 51; the first case was confirmed here on March 9.

Bengaluru has 32 positive COVID-19 cases and Dakshina Kannada five. Chikkaballapur and Kalaburagi districts have three cases each while Mysuru and Uttara Kannada have two cases and Kodagu, Dharwad, Davanagere, Udupi have one case each.

Meanwhile, on the first day of the nationwide 21-day lockdown to combat COVID-19, the Karnataka government decided to introduce a ‘pass system’ to regulate the movement of people in Bengaluru.

According to an official memo signed by Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao, passes will be issued to private security guards, petrol, gas and LPG retail employees, banks, ATMs and insurance company employees, delivery agents of food aggregator services, online pharmaceutical companies, e-Commerce platforms, print and electronic mediapersons, staff working for ration or grocery shops, diaries, meat, fish shops, animal-fodder shops, staff of medical establishments, staff of telecom and internet services, IT and IT-enablad service employees working for essential services, employees of cold storage and warehousing services, staff working for manufacturing units of essential commodities, staff engaged in transportation of essential goods, and staff of hotels and lodges accomodating tourists earmarked for COVID-19 quarantine facilities.

“Passes will be issued from the office of the jurisdictional DCP (Law & Order) and be made available 24×7 on submission of a standard application form," Rao said.

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