Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim
As the number of coronavirus cases continue to grow across India, a news report by news agency ANI, which has been archived here, dated 8 April, said that a man in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone had passed away from COVID-19 on 28 March.
According to their report, eight people in the man’s family had also tested positive for COVID-19. According to their report, the family had been infected by the man, who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in New Delhi, which has now been declared a coronavirus hotspot.
The Quint has hidden the identity of the patient.
The New Indian Express also carried a report based on ANI’s report, with the same details, claiming that the man had died.
Similarly, a news bulletin by Republic Bharat, archived here, also said the same thing, while claiming that members of Tablighi Jamaat were guilty of spreading the virus across the country.
TRUE OR FALSE?
The claim that the man hid his travel history and died of coronavirus made by both ANI and Republic is false. The man, who did indeed test positive, was actually undergoing treatment at Indore’s Maharaja Hospital and had gotten himself tested after returning to Khargone. He has now been discharged from care as well, after having tested negative twice for the novel coronavirus.
WHAT WE FOUND
We came across a letter written by one member of the family, which disputed the claim that the man had passed away and also said that he had informed authorities. We will break down these two claims in parts.
Did the Man Pass Away From Coronavirus?
The Quint reached out to a cousin brother of the patient, who told us that the man had returned to Khargone from South Africa’s Durban, via Delhi, where he had indeed attended the event held by Markaz. His wife was also present with him.
Further, he also told us that the man had himself tested on 24 March after the news broke about Markaz attendees testing positive for the virus, but received a negative report. However, the cousin claimed that the man and his wife both isolated themselves at home.
Moreover, they got themselves tested on 31 March once again, when their samples were taken and they were admitted in the hospital. The report for this round of tests came on 4 April and while the man tested positive, his wife tested negative.
A directive released by the Khargone District Collector’s office on 4 April also confirmed that the man had indeed tested positive and the area near his home had been declared a containment zone.
The man in question had also released a video after the news aired, saying that he was much better than before and that he was in a hospital in Indore and had not passed away as the reports were saying.
In fact, he received treatment at a hospital in Indore and was discharged on 12 April night after testing negative for the virus twice. He has now returned to Khargone and has been quarantined at a centre for 14 days.
However, it is true that the man’s mother passed away. The cousin told us that she passed away from a heart attack and tested COVID-19 positive after her death.
The Quint also spoke to the Khargone District Collector, Gopal Chandra Dad about the claim of the man’s death and was told by him as well that it is fake. When asked about the reports, Dad told The Quint, “I had said no such thing. I only said that his mother passed away.”
“Now he has tested negative twice and he has come to Khargone and I have quarantined him for 14 days in a centre,” he added.
However, it is true that several members of the man’s family did indeed test positive for coronavirus as stated in the news reports.
Did he Hide Travel History?
According to the news article, the man had also hidden his travel history from the local authorities.
When asked about this, the District Collector told us, “I can’t say he hid his travel history. But he had not given any proper information. They may have told the doctor when he went on a home visit but I had no information.”
However, the cousin The Quint spoke to claimed that the patient had informed both the doctor and local administration about his travel history and that he had attended the Markaz event in Delhi.
The patient, in the video accessed by The Quint, has also stated that he had informed both the hospital authorities and police about himself on 24 March.
Therefore, it is clear that media falsely proclaimed a coronavirus patient dead when he was undergoing treatment in hospital.
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