Post Italy Return, Can My Coronavirus Test Report Be Delivered?
Once I reached India from Italy, I decided to self-quarantine. I did not want to risk my parents or anyone’s life.
I heard the news of Novel Coronavirus cases in Pavia, Lombardy region, where I live in Italy. And within 24 hours, I got to know the cases had nearly tripled from 50 to 150. We received a message from my university that it will be closed because of the recent COVID-19 outbreak and it will not open before further notice by the health ministry.
I decided to take some precautionary measures and went that very day to buy groceries which could last about two months in case there is a lockdown. Within hours, supermarkets started to get empty and within 24 hours mostly every supermarket was empty.
I even tried pharmacies, so that I could buy a mask but they didn't have masks or sanitisers.
A friend of mine had booked his tickets from Milan to Canada in March but he was notified by the airlines that he would need to travel by the earliest, otherwise he would not be able to because of the current situation in Italy.
Hearing this, I decided to book my tickets and head back to India. I took my flight on 25 February at 4 pm and landed in Delhi at 8:30 am on the morning of 26 February.
At Delhi airport, I asked if I could get myself screened for coronavirus as I was coming from Italy. I was informed that people coming from China, Hong Kong and South Korea were the ones who were getting screened for coronavirus. I was told to go home.
Once I reached home, I decided to self-quarantine. I had read that the symptoms could take time to show. After about seven days, I decided to get myself screened for coronavirus because of all the news that was coming in about the virus. I started to get anxious. It had been a week and I hadn’t met any friends or relatives. I was afraid of putting anyone at risk including my parents.
So on 3 March, I decided to call the official helpline number but to my surprise, nobody answered the call. I then dialled the alternative number which was provided online. Finally, the operator answered and asked me not to panic even though I had informed him about my travel history. I informed the operator that I have faced some breathing problems in the past two days. But the person on call told me that I don’t have high fever and body ache so, I should just stay at home.
Within 10-15 minutes, I received a call back from the number, which I had dialled earlier and I was informed to get myself checked at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (RML).
On the same day, I decided to go RML Hospital for my screening. When I reached the hospital, there was a separate queue to get a slip before I could get myself checked at the ward. I had to stand in the queue for an hour with others who might be infected.
After waiting for an hour, my turn came and the concerned person asked me about my travel history and symptoms and other details. I was then directed to go to the isolation ward. When I arrived at the isolation ward there were around 15 people already standing in the queue. There were no chairs to sit. As I stood there, I got more anxious as I waited.
Doctors were calling two people at a time and repeated the same process after 30-40 minutes and this went on for five hours. At last my turn came around 9:45 pm after waiting in the queue, with people who could possible test positive. As you can imagine, to stand with others in such close proximity for hours was pretty stressful.
The doctors were tired and overworked since the test is complicated and takes a lot of time. Doctors took a sample from my nose and from my throat with a cotton bud and then they verified all the details and gave me prescription too. (The Quint has a copy of the prescription. )
To my surprise, I was asked to come back after 2-3 days for my test reports at the very same place. I asked the doctors if I could get the reports through email but they said it was not possible. Later, I was told to come between 9 am and 2 pm for the report collection.
To be honest, the idea of standing in line with people who might test positive just increases my chances of getting infected. The thought itself is very disturbing.
I don’t wish to go and stand in queue for hours again but I guess, that’s the only option left for me.
(The Quint reached out to RML Hospital to confirm whether a person needs to return to the hospital to collect its COVID-19 reports. The hospital confirmed this and said, they have been advised to hand the report only to the concerned person and not via any other channel. The reason, they claim is to ensure that the reports are shared with genuine patients.)
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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