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Fearing he had contracted coronavirus, man locks family, kills himself

A man from Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday; his family members say he took the extreme step due to the fear of contracting the deadly coronavirus. The 50-year-old’s body was found hanging from a tree.

He was a farmer from Seshamnaidu Kandriga in Thottambedu block, and was psychologically disturbed after reading reports about the dreaded viral disease in the newspapers and also browsing through videos on his mobile, the family members said.

“He also started behaving strangely with us in the last couple of days, after returning from Ruia Hospital in Tirupati where he underwent treatment for urinary tract infection and common cold last week. He pelted stones at us asking us not to come anywhere near him as he was infected with Coronavirus,” said his son, who is working as a village volunteer.

On Tuesday morning, the man bolted the door from outside as he left the house. His body was later found hanging on a tree near his mother’s grave on the outskirts of the village, said family members.

His son said that the man was suffering from cold and fever since February 1. He went to Ruia Hospital on February 5, where the doctors found that he was also suffering from urinary tract infection. “They gave him medicines and also asked him to wear mask so that the cold does not spread to others. He returned to the village, after staying at his sister’s house in Tirupati for two days,” said the son.

But he started panicking when his cold, cough and fever did not subside even after taking medicines, said the farmer’s son. “He thought he got affected from coronavirus, though we told him that the disease was prevalent only in China and affected those who went there. Even the other villagers also told him that if he really had coronavirus, the doctors would have kept quarantined him,” he added.

“My father was worried that the virus would spread to us. He hanged himself to save us,” said the young man.

Thottambedu police sub-inspector Venkata Subbaiah said no case was registered as the family refused to lodge a complaint.

No coronavirus case has been reported in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

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