COVID-19: Family heaves a sigh of relief as son returns home

News of safe return of Indians stranded on the Diamond Princess cruise ship due to the COVID-19 outbreak provided sigh of relief to family members of Sibashis Nayak, a young engineer from Odisha’s Berhampur.

Sibashis was on board the ship for more than three weeks. It had been quarantined off Yokohoma along the Japan coast due to threat of the COVID-19 infection. Speaking to The Hindu over phone, Mr. Sibashis said he was among the 119 Indians on the ship who were airlifted from Japan by the Indian government.

“We landed in New Delhi at around 5.30 a.m. on Thursday. All of us were shifted to the Army’s quarantine facility at Manesar in Haryana, where we will be kept for 14 days”, said Mr. Sibashis. According to him the people have been divided in groups of 20 persons at the camp. Their samples have been collected again for tests to confirm if they are infected.

After reaching India, Mr. Sibashis immediately spoke with his parents in Berhampur. His father Lingaraj Nayak and mother Jhunu Nayak were overwhelmed to hear the news of his arrival.

“I have spent sleepless nights since the day I heard that my son was stranded on the ship with people getting infected by the deadly disease. Although I am relieved now as he has returned to our country, my mind cannot be in peace till he reaches Berhampur to his family”, said his mother, Ms. Jhunu.

On January 10, Mr. Sibashis and his colleagues, who work in New Delhi, had gone to Malaysia for official purposes. From there they had travelled to Vietnam and boarded the Diamond Princess Ship from the country’s ChinMay Bay. Panic had struck the duo after one person on the cruise liner was found to be infected by the virus. He later disembarked at Hong Kong on January 25.

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