Unending struggle for family after 5 members hit by COVID-19.

A 35-year-old man, whose father died of coronavirus in Pune over 10 days back and four other family members are still in hospital after contracting the disease, is in a state of shock and not able to muster courage to inform his mother about the father’s demise.

The man, who is into vegetable business here in Maharashtra, is also saddened by the insensitive approach of people around, who stopped interacting with his family in this hour of crisis.

His 60-year-old father died at the state-run Sassoon General Hospital in Pune on April 9. The deceased had co- morbid health conditions as he was diabetic and paralytic, according to health officials.

While his father was undergoing treatment, the 35- year-old man’s wife, his two daughters and brother also tested positive for the viral infection and are currently admitted at an isolation facility in the city.

The man said after his father was diagnosed pneumonia, the latter was referred to the Sassoon Hospital where he tested positive for coronavirus on April 6.

“Later, swab samples of 12 other family members and high-risk contracts were taken and among these, my wife, brother and my two daughters tested positive. The rest of us, including me, my one-year-old son, and mother were sent back and quarantined at a health centre,” he said.

On April 9, he got the shocking news of his father’s death and could not believe it.

“It was unexpected as he was stable. We are still not able to come to terms with this. The saddest part is no one from the family could see him for one last time after his death and we could not even attend his last rites,” he said.

The last rites of his father were performed by members of social outfit Mulnivasi Manch, led by Anjum Inamdar, at a city-based burial ground, he said.

The man had requested Inamdar to click some photos and videos of the last rites so that the family could see it.

“Since four of my family members are still in the hospital, I don’t have the courage to tell my mother that our father is no more. Though we are going through lot of stress, I am trying to behave normal in front of my mother who is already shaken by what the family is going through,” he said.

The man said he might break the news of his father’s death to his mother once the other family members recover from the deadly disease and return home.

“We are trying to cope up with the situation, but what has saddened me more is the indifferent approach of people towards our family after my father tested positive for coronavirus,” he said, adding that many people known to him stopped interacting or communicating with his family.

The family of another Pune resident, who works as an electrician, is also suffering due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

His 50-year-old mother died of coronavirus at the Sassoon Hospital on April 14.

“It seems lives of all our family members have turned upside down after my mother’s death. I am the sole breadwinner of my family. Since the lockdown, I am at home and trying to somehow managing our finances,” he said.

Razi Khan, member of the Popular Front of India whose volunteers are closely working with the civic administration to perform last rites of coronavirus victims from the Muslim community, said till now they have buried 20 bodies in Pune.

“We are burying the bodies which are not claimed by their family members as they are either quarantined or are kept in hospitals. In some of the cases, we managed to make the bereaved family members part of the last rites rituals through video calls,” Khan said.

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