It was heartbreaking for 30-year-old Lino Abel to helplessly watch through the window of an isolation ward the body of his father being taken home for the final journey by an ambulance.
Having rushed from Qatar, one among the coronavirus affected nations, on March 8, Lino Abel wanted to be with his father who had been hospitalised following a fall from his bed.
However, having travel history from a COVID-19-hit country and having mild cough, he immediately reported himself to the health authorities and was admitted to the isolation ward of the medical college hospital in Kottayam.
The condition of his father worsened after he suffered a stroke and he passed away on March 9.
Though Abel was in the same hospital, he could not see his father for one last time as he was in the isolation ward. As the ambulance carried his father's body, he took one last glimpse from the window of his room.
He saw the last rites of his father through video call.
"If I had not reported myself, I could've seen my dad for one last time. But I did not, because I decided not to spread the disease in case I was affected. The expats here please report to the health authorities. If you can spare a few days, you can spend rest of your time happily with your family," he wrote.
"Isolation ward is not a concentration camp", Lino Abel wrote in his Facebook page on March 12 in which he describes his plight but points out at the importance of expatriates self quarantining themselves to protect their families.
The decision of Abel to quarantine himself despite reaching the state to visit his hospitalised father was praised by many, including chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, for his (Lino Abel's) social commitment.
"It was an extremely sad situation. The youth travelled all the way to visit his father at hospital. Though he reached here, he was unable to meet his father. He showed exemplary courage and social commitment and responsibility by getting quarantined on his own," Mr Vijayan had said on Friday.
In the Facebook post that has become viral, Abel says he reached Kerala to spend time with his father who was hospitalised and had developed internal bleeding following a fall.
"I filled the necessary forms at the airport and reached the hospital. I kept a distance from everyone, even though my temperature reading was normal. I developed a slight cough and irritation in my throat. I thought about my family and friends and decided to meet the doctor," Lino Abel wrote.
He met the doctor at the coronavirus ward of the same hospital and got admitted to the isolation ward due to his travel history from Qatar.
"Later in the night, dad suffered a stroke and passed away. I was very near him but was unable to meet him because I was in the isolation ward too," he wrote.
However, his blood test result turned out to be negative on Saturday and Lino Abel would be returning to his home in Thodupuzha in Idukki district.