21 September, 2020

Pestilence And A Shrouded Angel

Epidemic alert as Nipah virus hits Kerala and a nurse is ­martyred in the line of duty

Nipah patients’ ­relatives in safety masks at Kozhikode Medical College
Photograph by PTI
Pestilence And A Shrouded Angel

Lini knew she was dying. She’d poured her heart into caring for her pat­ient, Sabith, who was aff­licted by an unknown virus—and wept inconsolably when he died. And now that the virus had inf­e­cted her, she realised that she had little time remaining. When they were taking her to Kozhikode Medical College for treatment, she managed to make a video call to her husband, Sajeesh, who was away working in the Gulf; she told him she was unwell and asked for his prayers.

And in a note that she left for him, she gently informs him of her imminent death: “Sajeesh­etta, Am almost on the way. I don’t think I will be able to see you. Sorry.” She implores him to take their two children, five-year-old Rithul and two-year-old Siddharth, back with him to Bahrain where he works as an accountant. Lini passed away on May 21, and many in her native Kerala have begun to hail her as a ­martyr—an angel, even—in the fight against the deadly Nipah virus that has cast a pall over the northern part of the state, having claimed a...



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