A man in Andhra Pradesh's Chitoor district killed himself after suspecting that he had coronavirus, the lethal disease which has killed over 1,100 people in China and has spread to over 20 countries, according to his family.
Balakrishnayya, 50, feared that he would spread the infection and could be a threat to his family and other villagers in the holy town of Srikalahasti.
He suspected that he had coronavirus infection after visiting Tirupati's Ruia Hospital where doctors advised him to wear a mask because he showed symptoms of cold.
"He had gone to hospital for checkup regarding heart ailment. The doctors told him to use a mask.... he misunderstood and thought he was infected with coronavirus," Balakrishnayya's son Balamurali said.
"He wouldn't let any of us come near him. I told him you don't have infection but he wouldn't listen. May be, if he got proper counselling, he would have listened. He saw lots of videos (on internet) about symptoms and concluded that he had all those symptoms. He locked us up in the house on Monday and before we could get help to stop him, he hanged himself on a tree," he added.
No cases of coronavirus, which has been declared as a global health emergency after it spread to more than 20 countries in the past two months, have been reported in Andhra Pradesh.
Three coronavirus cases were reported in Kerala in the last few weeks. All three patients are students who returned from China's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the outbreak, last month.
The first Indian patient, who got infected, tested negative in latest reports after she was isolated and her health improved.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause a number of illnesses, ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel coronavirus (nCoV) that started spreading from Wuhan, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
The common symptoms of Coronavirus infection include fever, cough and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the patient can suffer from pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
The virus was officially named "COVID-19" at a conference in Geneva held by the World Health Organization, where the body's chief said countries had a chance of stopping its global spread.
WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday that although 99 percent of cases are in China, where it remains "very much an emergency," it also "holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world."
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