The following is a statement released by Capt. Wungthingthing S Arthur even as the funeral issue of his father-in-law was being put to rest, thanks to the offer of burial space by the Presbyterian Church Raitsamthiah. We are reproducing the entire, unedited statement below:
It has been 12 hours since my father-in-law passed away, silently. My wife just lost her father. We do not know whether his cremation is over. We were not there to weep beside his body.
It has also been almost 48 hours since the news was made public and the media and social media jumped in to vilify us. The ripples have reached my family in Manipur and Nagaland. Nobody has been spared.
The coronavirus is a tiny virus – unseen, lifeless yet intelligent; it has made us humans, the greatest creation of God, show our ugliest side.
Up until the time I write this, I believe I have tested negative twice, as sample collection was repeated over two successive days. We have also been unofficially informed by authorities about it. I was told a third sample would be taken. CM Conrad Sangma’s 10:17 tweet also said that fresh tests are being taken. It has been five hours since, and we are still waiting for our samples to be collected.
Six of my wife’s family members have unfortunately tested positive. I request the authorities to kindly follow WHO protocol; isolate the positive and quarantine the negative immediately as we are still all together.
Many of you have read my travel itinerary and maybe feel I am an irresponsible traveller. Flying is my profession. Pilots unfortunately do not have the luxury of being quarantined, except in the case of this unprecedented lockdown, but we take the highest care because our professions demand of it.
Upon my return from the US on March 15 I travelled to Imphal on March 16. I was called to Delhi on March 20 to operate a flight to Rome to evacuate Indian citizens from Italy. It turned out that one of my colleagues operated that flight instead. I stayed back in Delhi for any other emergent assignment that may have been required of me, considering the situation. On the announcement of the lockdown, I returned to Shillong on March 24, after providing my thorough travel history to the authorities at the airport in Guwahati and receiving a quarantine stamp. And, on reaching Shillong, I immediately reported to 108, and thereafter remained under home quarantine, observing all respected sterilisation and isolation protocols for 14 days and emerged on April 7.
It might be pertinent to consider that one of the patients that Dr Sailo treated in the line of duty may be responsible for the transmission. The search and isolation of this person is where the state’s energy and resources should be directed at, not target people with or without reason. Is this how we fight the virus? Look at what we have come to as humans, created in perfection!
My father-in-law literally spent his life in the treatment of his patients. This is not an acceptable way to honour his memory. I request the Meghalaya government to make official the test results and let the baying crowd pass their final judgement.