First COVID-19 patients from Maha recover, return home

Pune: A local couple, the first COVID-19 patients in Maharashtra, received a warm welcome from their housing society when they arrived in the premises on Wednesday after being discharged from hospital following recovery. 

Residents of the housing society, located on Sinhgad Road, came out in their balconies and clapped and clanged their utensils to greet the 51-year-old man and his 43-year-old wife.

The couple was discharged from Naidu Hospital on Wednesday after they tested negative twice for the coronavirus infection following the completion of 14 days of the isolation period.

They were overwhelmed by the warm welcome from their housing society members.

“When the ambulance reached the gate of our society, which has over 350 flats, the residents were already standing in their balconies. As we stepped inside the complex, people cheered, clapped and even clanged their utensils to welcome us,” said the 51-year-old man.

He said that since no in-person meeting was allowed, several society residents called him up to congratulate and express their support.

“Some of them had already arranged essential items at our home to ensure we do not have any problem,” he said.

Earlier, while getting discharged from the civic-run hospital, the couple was greeted with flowers by senior district administration officials, doctors and hospital staff who maintained a certain distance from each other.

The couple and their 23-year-old daughter were part of a 40-member tourist group that returned to Mumbai from Dubai on March 1. They travelled from Mumbai to Pune in a cab.

Besides the couple, their daughter and the cab driver had also tested positive for the coronavirus.

After the isolation period, the first test of their daughter, the cab driver and one more person from the Dubai trip tested negative on Tuesday, an official from the health department said.

“Their repeat samples will be sent today and if the test negative, they will also be discharged,” he said.

The couple appealed to people to follow the instructions and maintain social distancing to contain the spread of the virus.

“After the discharge, we will be under home quarantine and will follow the protocol and instructions given to us by health officials,” the couple said.