I didn’t want rumours to reach my family, says Delhi police constable after recoveringUpdated: Apr 29, 2020 23:11 IST
For ten days, 34-year-old Delhi Police constable Vikas Kumar Verma evaded questions about his health from his kin so that they did not worry about his well being in a city that is being ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic..
On Monday, however, a Facebook post by Verma’s colleague welcoming him back to work, alerted his family.
Soon after the social media post went up, he got a call from his wife and mother, who live in Kotputli, near Jaipur, Rajasthan. Verma took the call and said told them the truth.
Verma was among the first three policemen to have contracted the virus and tested positive on April 17. He recalls how while performing duty in Central Delhi’s Chandni Mahal, he suddenly started feeling weak and then within hours had developed high fever. As a precaution, he got himself tested and was declared coronavirus positive on April 17. He said that everything happened so quickly, he didn’t get time to properly convey the news properly to his family.
After the three policemen from Chandni Mahal tested positive, the police station was sealed with 26 policemen being asked to stay there in isolation. The remaining workforce were told to report to duty from Jama Masjid police station for some time.
“My mother and grandmother live in a village in Rajasthan and aren’t very well educated.Because Covid-19 is a scare in villages, I didn’t want them to start worrying about me. Another major concern was that villagers and neighbours start reacting in unexpected ways. In villages coronavirus is not only a threat to life but also carries a stigma. They would tell my mother and grandmother things about the virus, which aren’t true. This would only give rise to rumour mongering and make them worry. I didn’t want them to be caught in such a situation,” Verma said.
The day Verma’s test reports were out, he called up his younger brother, who also lives with the family and works with a private firm there, and told him everything. “Only he knew the truth. I had to confide in someone because the virus has so far claimed thousands of lives. At that time, I didn’t know if I will return alive. I had asked my brother to tell others in the family that I am just unwell and under observation, so that if something happened to me, they aren’t shocked all of a sudden. I felt bad, but at that time I thought that was the best I could tell them,” he said.
On Monday, when Verma was discharged from the hospital after 10 days, he was welcomed back by his colleagues and senior officers with garland, flowers and music. Some of them posted pictures on social media and one such post on Facebook led Verma’s family to learn the truth.
For past three years Verma had been living in the barracks of Chandni Mahal police station. After resuming duty, he has chosen to put up at a hotel in Karol Bagha.
Deputy commissioner of police (central) Sanjay Bhatia said Verma will stay in the hotel and will join office on April 30. “There are 15-20 other policemen in that hotel, which we have hired to keep our men in isolation. Policemen who are active in the field and do not want to go home to prevent their families from getting the infection, are staying there. Verma is fit to join work and his condition is being monitored regularly,” Bhatia said.
Verma, however, is not sure when will he be able to visit his family. The constable, who had joined the police force in 2015, is a father to four daughters, the youngest of whom is one-and-a-half-year-old.
“For us, duty comes first. I was on duty when I fell sick. Now I have been discharged from the hospital and am ready to join work. In such times, I can’t ask for a holiday to go home. I have told my family that I am fine now and will be home once the crisis is over,” he said.
Verma remembers how tiring his treatment was as he spent ten long days at in the hospital wondering if he will ever be able to meet his daughters again. “All i seemed to be doing there (at the hospital) was swallow tablets and getting tested. It wasn’t easy but i needed to be strong willed. When I came to know that I was Covid-19 positive, it scared me. But, I had to remain strong. I had heard that many people have even recovered and going for the treatment with a positive mind was the only option I had,” Verma said.
Apart from Verma, more than 30 Delhi police personnel have so far tested positive for the virus in the city that so far has seen 3,439 cases in total with 56 deaths.
Two more cops of Chandni Mahal police station recover, offer to donate plasma
Two more constables from Chandni Mahal police station who were infected with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) recovered from the virus on Wednesday and returned from a private hospital, where they were under medical observation.
Three constables of the police station have recovered from the virus, so far, while five others are still under medical observation at a central Delhi hospital. All three of them have offered to donate their plasma to help save lives of coronavirus infected, said deputy commissioner of police (central) Sanjay Bhatia.
DCP Bhatia said that the duo – constables Pushpendra Yadav and Indraj – were discharged from the hospital after their two tests came negative, The Chandi Mahal police station, which was sealed since eight personnel were tested positive for the virus, will be de-sealed on Thursday, he said.
“Twenty-six personnel of the police station, including the station house officer (SHO), will resume their duty on Thursday, as they have completed their 14-day quarantine period and will be discharged. We will welcome them at the police station,” added the DCP.
DCP Bhatia said that Pushpendra and Indraj were the first two constables who were tested positive from the police station. Thereafter, 32 staffers were sent in self-quarantine to avoid the spread of the virus. Another six of them were later found positive and admitted to different hospitals and quarantine centres. Among them, Constable Vikas, was the first who recovered from the virus on Monday.
“Like Vikas, Pushpendra and Indraj also want to join duty. But we have presently shifted them to a guest house in Karol Bagh where they will spend two more days to ensure they do not suffer a relapse,” Bhatia said.
As on date, 32 personnel from the city police have tested positive for the Covid-19, of which 14 are from central district’s Chandni Mahal, Nabi Karim and Jama Masjid police station. Another six personnel were from the Jahangirpuri police station. A total of four personnel are now recovered.
(Inputs by Karn Pratap Singh)