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Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: The man who first tested positive for Covid-19 in Odisha on this day a year ago has recalled his days of agony on the first anniversary of the deadly virus onset in the State.

On March 15, 2020, the young man had tested positive on his return from Italy. He was subsequently kept in isolation at the Capital hospital in Bhubaneswar.

After remaining under medical observation for around a week, he had fully recovered from the disease.

The youth who was pursuing his research in Milan University (Italy) recalled that the infection came as a double whammy for him. While he had to face social restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus, the stigma (of being infected) followed him for a long time.

"I returned Odisha from Italy on March 12 last year via New Delhi. I got myself tested on March 14 and the report came positive the following day," he said.

He said his will power and family support ensured his faster recovery at a time the horrors associated with the infection increased every passing day.

"I fought the infection and won the battle due to the constant support of my family and friends. But what was really unfortunate was that many people had tried to stigamatise me. Many rumours about me started doing the rounds on social media even after the Health department's clarification that no one had been infected by me. Everything that had been posted about me on social media were absolutely false," he said.

"I was doing research in Milan University, Italy. Now, I am continuing my study through on-line mode. I have plans to visit the university once the situation became normal," he said of his plans ahead.

Sources said the first positive case had been detected a day before the Odisha Government declared the pandemic as 'State disaster' on March 14.

On March 21, 2020, lockdown was announced in five coastal districts to contain the spread of the virus. Later, restrictions were extended to all the 30 districts of the state.

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