60 days and counting, Uttarakhand man flying from Tehran in 4th quarantine
25-year-old Praveen Burathi was quarantined one in Tehran, twice in Jaisalmer before the fourth one began in Champawat amid the Covid-19 pandemic.Updated: Apr 30, 2020 22:55 IST
For 25-year-old Praveen Burathi, it has been the longest journey from the Iranian capital Tehran to his home in Khatoli village in Champawat of Uttarakhand spanning over 60 days and four quarantines amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
And it is not over yet.
He had been quarantined once in Tehran and twice in Jaisalmer earlier before his fourth quarantine began in Champawat on Tuesday.
His ordeal began on February 28 when he went to the Tehran airport to catch a flight to Delhi.
Burathi who works as a navigation officer at a shipping company in Tehran, had been sanctioned two months’ leave by his company but the flight on February 28 was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“I have been quarantined a fourth time in Champawat. It took me around two months to travel 3,551 km from Tehran to Champawat. When I reached Tehran airport on February 28, I was informed that flight for Delhi has been cancelled due to Covid-19 outbreak and countries restricting the movement of people across borders. I was told there was no certainty when the next flight will leave for India,” said Praveen Burathi.
Burathi said he then contacted the Indian embassy in Tehran. “There I was advised by officials that I would be quarantined in a hotel till the next flight is available. I remained in quarantine there till March 14 and my sample was taken by Iranian officials, which tested negative on March 16.”
“Finally I boarded the Air India flight for Delhi with 195 other Indians on March 18 from Tehran. After we reached Delhi we were taken to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan through two domestic flights and quarantined there for 14 days,” Burathi said.
Burathi said after completion of the quarantine period, their samples were taken again for Covid-19 testing on March 31. “The report was received on April 5, which showed two people had tested positive for Covid-19. So the rest of us were quarantined again for 14 days at the same centre. We completed the second quarantine period on April 19, when samples were again sent for the testing”, he said.
“When the test reports came negative on April 23, then we were permitted to go home. But it took me three more days in obtaining a pass from the authorities in Jaisalmer. During this, we were allowed to stay at the centre. After obtaining a pass, I hired a taxi for Rs 30,000 and left for Champawat,” said Burathi.
Burathi reached Champawat on Tuesday and went straight to the local police station to inform them about his arrival. Given his travel history, he was quarantined again in a local hotel for 14 days.
“If I had gone directly to my village, the police would have taken action against me for hiding my arrival or villagers might have informed the police. So I thought it is better to approach the police before going to my village,” Burathi said.
“I want to go home so badly. I am eagerly waiting for this quarantine to end so that I can be with my family. It has been the longest and most tiresome journey of my life,” he said
Chief medical officer Champawat district Dr RP Khanduri said, “The man who came from Iran has been kept under institutional quarantine at a hotel in Champawat for 14 days”.
“Though we are quarantining people who come from outside the state, given this man’s travel history we are extra cautious. After he completes his quarantine period, his samples will be sent for testing. If they come negative, he will be sent home and advised to stay at home,” she said.
In Uttarakhand, where 57 people have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, 11,120 people have been home quarantined and 2,218 have been quarantined in various institutions.