A Month on, Varavara Rao’s Family Says ‘No Update on COVID Status’
After a video call, Varavara Rao’s family said his health was improving but he remained physically weak.
Jailed poet and activist Varavara Rao’s family said the 80-year-old, who was admitted to Mumbai’s Nanavati hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 on 16 July, continued to remain physically weak.
His nephew N Venugopal told The Quint, “As per Bombay High Court’s direction, we were allowed to have a video call with him on Tuesday, 18 August. Fortunately, he was coherent this time although his physical health was still very weak.”
When asked if he has tested negative for COVID-19 a month after his infection was detected, the family said “there was no official update from the authorities or doctors. They usually submit all the reports to the courts. The family has not been informed of any further test results.”
Venugopal said the court had asked the authorities to submit his medical report within three days on 28 July. “On Monday, the bench read out the medical report that was submitted on 31 July which said that he was still positive. We haven’t received any formal information on whether he has tested negative even 32 days later.”
On Monday, 17 August, even as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) objected to Rao’s bail plea in the Elgar Parishad case on health conditions, the Bombay High Court directed the state prison authorities to set up a video call with Rao’s family. After the last video call on 31 July, Rao’s family had claimed that he “was hallucinating about his father’s death and looked extremely frail and incoherent.”
Rao, who was lodged at Taloja jail, was shifted to Nanavati Hospital after he sustained a head injury in government-run JJ Hospital.
The NIA objected to Rao’s plea claiming that the best possible medical treatment was being provided to him and the jail authorities will ensure to offer him the same whenever required.
According to the Maharashtra government’s press release, till 16 August, three inmates at Taloja jail have tested positive for COVID-19 out of which two people have died. According to HC’s order, Taloja jail has conducted 46 rapid COVID-19 tests on inmates.
Other Bhima Koregaon accused - Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves - are also lodged in the Taloja jail and requested for bail on health conditions during the pandemic.
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