A Year On, Kin of Country's First Virus Victim Say They are Yet to Receive His Covid Positive Report

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A year after the country’s first coronavirus death was reported in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi, the deceased’s family says it still hasn’t received a Covid-19 positive report or confirmation from authorities.

On March 12 last year, state health minister B Sriramulu had announced the death of 76-year-old Qazi Muhammad Hussain. He had reportedly contracted the deadly virus in Saudi Arabia.

However, a year on, his eldest son, Hamid Faisal Siddiqui claims that his father did not die of Covid. According to Faisal, Hussain had returned from Jeddah on February 29 after meeting his other son. He died 10 days later after suffering from high fever. They had to run from one hospital to another for treatment.

Hussain’s daughter-in-law, Aqeela Siddiqua, a Unani doctor, says they were told he did not have Covid-19 but two days later it was in the news that he had contracted the disease.

They further say that no one else in the family got Covid-19 despite living together.

Hussain, whose fever spiked on March 7, had to be admitted to a hospital, where he was told that his oxygen levels might drop and should be shifte to a bigger hospital. But no hospital was ready to take him.

The family say, he was finally admitted to one hospital where he was placed under isolation. “My father had neither eaten anything nor was he given any medicine. He was broken by the way he was treated in different places. The last thing he told me was that he was thirsty and asked for water,” Faisal said.

A respected family in the town as Hussain was the caretaker of one of the biggest local mosques in Kalaburagi, they had to go through a lot of trouble following his demise. The social stigma around coronavirus changed the way people treated them, they said.