Mother and daughter in India locked themselves in room for three years to escape Covid

Women were taken to hospital for mental and physical tests

The coronavirus which caused the pandemic. AP
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A mother and daughter who locked themselves in a room for three years to avoid catching Covid have been rescued by authorities in southern India.

Karneedi Mani, 46, and 21-year-old Durga Bhavani, who both have a chronic illness, were rescued from their home in Kuyyeru in Andhra Pradesh state by police and health officials following pleas by Ms Mani's husband K Suri Babu.

Ms Mani had even refused to see Mr Babu for months, prompting him to approach the authorities for help.

The health officials on Tuesday arrived at their home and, after unsuccessfully pleading for hours, broke open the door to find the duo cowering in a corner of the room under blankets.

Videos shared on social media showed health officials coaxing the women into opening the door.

A team of 40 was involved in getting them out, the village head Krishnamurthy said.

The women were shifted to the district’s government hospital for mental and physical evaluation, doctors said.

“The [mother and daughter] have been suffering from a chronic disease,” said Dr M Santhi Prabha, District Medical and Health Officer. “They have been getting psychiatric treatment. That is why she behaves differently, her daughter also follows her mother.”

Mr Babu, a vegetable vendor, told the officials that his wife has schizophrenia and the unusual behaviour started when he told her and his daughter to wear masks and stay indoors at the beginning of the pandemic.

But the mother and daughter locked themselves in the room and Ms Bhavani would spend her days reading religious books.

She believed that someone was using witchcraft to kill her and her family, police said.

A similar case was also reported in the state’s Anantapuram district a few months ago, in which three brothers locked themselves up since March 2020 for fear of catching the infection.

Updated: December 23, 2022, 12:23 PM
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