Situation not back to normal: Delhi's 1st Covid patient

Situation not normal, don't lower guard: Delhi's 1st Covid-19 patient

He referred to many residents going out without wearing masks and violating social distancing norms

With experts predicting a major surge in Covid-19 cases in the coming months in Delhi, the city's first coronavirus patient on Wednesday cautioned people to stay indoors as much as possible during the festive season while emphasising that the situation is "not back to normal".

Rohit Datta, who was diagnosed with the infection on March 1, made an appeal to the masses to "not lower our guard" by getting into a casual festive mode.

For latest updates on coronavirus outbreak, click here

"I was diagnosed with Covid-19 at a time when the virus had already wreaked havoc in China and a few other countries. I was the first patient in Delhi. So much fear and uncertainty was there at that time. Despite all the research, the virus is still unpredictable," the 46-year-old told PTI over the phone.

Datta cautioned that though the economy has been reopened people must realise that the situation in Delhi is "not back to normal".

He referred to many residents going out without wearing masks and violating social distancing norms, giving the example of youths who are putting up pictures on social media of parties and events "as if it's all ok now".

"It is still not ok and work is on for the elusive vaccine. In the festive season, the chances of infection being spread through symptomatic or asymptomatic carriers is huge," he said.

Days before the festival of Diwali, he urged people to step out only for urgent matters and to take full precautions. "If you love your family, stay home this Diwali," he said in his appeal to people.

Asked about his plan for Diwali, Datta, a resident of Mayur Vihar in east Delhi who lives with his wife, two children and mother, said, "It will be a celebration of family bonds and nature".

"For two years, our family has not burst crackers on Diwali. This time, we will not step out at all. We will light 'diyas' to feel the power of nature and share sweets and laughter and warm moments with family members," he said.

"As they say, 'Jaan hai to jehan hai ' (if you have life, you have the world), and I guess the adage applies aptly right now," said the businessman.

Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases, deaths on October 28

Datta, who underwent treatment for the novel coronavirus infection at Safdarjung Hospital here, said he became quite spiritual after completing his 14-day isolation and often thanks the Almighty now.

"My life is a blessing from God and the doctors who treated me," he said.

Dutta also said he would often fight the feeling of fear and guilt as upon his return from Italy he was informed that he was the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Delhi.

"Today, I want to tell people to not take things casually. We hope that a vaccine is underway, but take all safety precautions especially in this festive season. Otherwise, we will have to face a tough situation again," he said.

His cautionary words come at a time when Delhi has once again seen a big surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the last few days. In the highest single-day spike here till date, 4,853 fresh cases were recorded on Tuesday and the infection tally in the city mounted to over 3.64 lakh.

The previous highest single-day spike of 4,473 cases was recorded on September 16.

The number of fresh cases recorded on Monday stood at 2,832, and 4,136 on Sunday, while the figures were 4,116 on Saturday and 4,086 on Friday.

The National Centre for Disease Control in a report drafted recently had warned that Delhi needs to be prepared for about 15,000 fresh cases of Covid-19 per day taking into account the upcoming winter season-related respiratory problems, a large influx of patients from outside and festive gatherings.

Coronavirus Worldometer | 15 countries with the highest number of cases, deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic

Meanwhile, the Union health ministry on Wednesday said the new coronavirus cases reported in India in a span of 24 hours remained below 45,000, even as the total Covid-19 caseload inched closer to 80 lakh.

Datta, who was diagnosed with the infection much before the nationwide lockdown was implemented from March 25, lamented that "humans mostly don't learn lessons from such circumstances".

"We all know that during the lockdown everyone was posting pictures of nature, of clear blue skies seen from their balconies, and listening to the chirping of sparrows, and thoughts about being humble to nature and not giving in to human greed in the name of development. All that philosophy remained a philosophy," he said.

"Now, the skies are grey, the air is poisonous, and sparrows have again disappeared. This virus taught us, humans, such valuable lessons too, but guess the wisdom we gained came with an expiry date. With the easing of lockdown norms, we are again tending to slip into our old inertia," said Datta, with a hint of disappointment in his voice.

But hope springs eternal, and the leather businessman who is no stranger to "risky environment", says "hope is all we have in this battle, where the enemy is faceless and knows no boundaries". 

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox