3 women lock themselves for 15 months due to COVID paranoia

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Kadali: A women and her two daughters in Kadali village in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district confined themselves within their house for 15 months consecutively during the pandemic to avoid exposing themselves, and have, now, been taken to hospital in a weakened state, police said.

“Ruthamma, and her daughters, Kanthamani (30) and Rani (32), confined themselves since the first lockdown, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2020,” a police official told IANS on Wednesday.

He said only Ruthamma’s husband, John Benny, and son Chinnababu would go outside for work. Before leaving, Benny would cook for the three women, and do the same on returning.

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Cleaning the rooms and other chores were also done by the father-son duo all these months, as the women would only venture out to relieve themselves.

“These three feared that if they contract Covid, they cannot afford treatment in the hospital as they were poor. So they thought it is better not to come out and stay in the home itself,” he said.

According to police, nobody suspected what was happening because the men would come out of the house. Otherwise, the police official said the state’s ward and village volunteer system would have detected what was happening, considering one volunteer has been tasked to take government schemes to 50 households.

After tolerating his mother and sisters’ behaviour for a long time, Chinnababu finally approached the police.

Police said that the women didn’t heed the word of Benny as well as Chinnababu.

“The father-son took the matter to mahila police in the village secretariat. From them, we received the information, leading the sub-inspector to visit and counsel them,” the officer said.

Following this, the three women were shifted to a hospital in Razole and are said to be stable now, though malnourished and feeble.

All these 15 months, the three women did not even bathe, and when they finally emerged, their hair was in a bad state too.