Arthur Wungthingthing is son-in-law of Dr. John L. Sailio Rynthathiang, director of Bethany Hospital in Shillong, who passed away on Wednesday morning because of COVID19 complications.
Everyone in Shillong blamed the son-in-law, a pilot with Air India of “infecting” Dr. Sailo Rynthathiang.
Arthur on Wednesday issued a statement in connection with the controversy. The statement is published un-edited:
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’s been almost 48 hours since the news was made public and the media and social media jumping 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. And yet, 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. I have not been officially informed but I conclude so, as sample collection was repeated on two successive days. 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 is well into the day and we are still waiting for our samples to be collected.
Six of my wife’s family members have unfortunately tested positive. There have been no efforts to segregate us, we have not been taken to quarantine. We are still all together in the same house.
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 14, 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 and remained under home quarantine, thoroughly observing all respected sterilisation and isolation protocols for 14 days and emerged on April 7.
Perhaps I will be tested positive the third time around, and I will be most regretful if I did. But even then, is this how we fight the virus together? Look at what we have come to as humans, created in perfection!
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.
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.