A 50-year-old man in India allegedly committed suicide after believing that he had contracted the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), Indian media Hindustan Times reported.
The incident happened in the Indian district of Chittor within the state of Andhra Pradesh on Feb. 11.
No mention of Covid-19 made during hospital visit
According to his family members, K Balakrishna had been afflicted by a cold and fever since Feb. 1, Indian Express reported.
Balakrishna's son, Balamurali, explained that his father had gone to the Sri Venkateswara Ramnarain Ruia Government General Hospital (SVRRGGH) in Tirupati on Feb. 5.
The man was diagnosed with both a viral and urinary tract infection.
He was then given medication and asked to wear a mask so that the cold would not spread to others.
The village's police station sub-inspector, Venkata Subbaiah, stated that no mention of the coronavirus was raised by the doctors.
Balakrishna then stayed at his sister’s house in Tirupati for two days, before returning to the village.
Came to believe he had really been infected with Covid-19
However, panic began to set in for Balakrishna when his cold, cough and fever did not subside after taking the prescribed medication.
His son was further quoted by Hindustan Times as saying:
"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."
Both media also quoted family members as stating that Balakrishna became more psychologically disturbed after reading about the disease in newspapers and watching videos about it on his phone.
Isolated himself, chased family members away
Balakrishna reportedly isolated himself in his room and chased his family members away by throwing stones at them.
On Feb. 10, a day before his death, he supposedly spent the entire day watching videos on Covid-19.
Balakrishna then left the house at night, locking the door from the outside.
When his family realised this, they alerted their neighbours who launched a search.
He was subsequently discovered on Feb. 11 to have hanged himself near his mother's grave on the village outskirts.
His son said: "My father was worried that the virus would spread to us. He hanged himself to save us."
SOS 24-hour Hotline: 1800-221-4444
Singapore Association of Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
Institute of Mental Health: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
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Top photo by ARUN CHANDRABOSE/AFP via Getty Images