Designer Maria B's employee quarantined in Vehari after testing positive for Covid-19

Updated March 25, 2020

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Punjab police and health authorities on Wednesday claimed to have quarantined an employee of Pakistani designer Maria B who had tested positive for the coronavirus at the District Headquarters Hospital in the Vehari district of Punjab. —AP/File
Punjab police and health authorities on Wednesday claimed to have quarantined an employee of Pakistani designer Maria B who had tested positive for the coronavirus at the District Headquarters Hospital in the Vehari district of Punjab. —AP/File

Police and health authorities on Wednesday said an employee of renowned designer Maria B was in quarantine at the District Headquarters Hospital in the Vehari district of Punjab.

Punjab Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department spokesman Qaiser Asif, while confirming he was under quarantine at the Vehari DHQ, said the patient's contacts were being traced and would also be tested.

On Tuesday, Lahore police had registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Maria B's husband, Tahir Saeed, for sending the employee — who worked for them as a cook — to his village after finding out he is positive for the novel virus, without informing the authorities.

Read: Police register FIR against designer's husband for sending Covid-19 positive employee to village

The FIR was registered at Nishtar Colony Station under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 271 (disobedience to quarantine rule) of the Pakistan Penal Code as well as Article 144 and 143 of the Police Order, 2002.

As per the FIR, which does not name Maria B, despite knowing that the employee had contracted the virus, Saeed neither informed the authorities nor took him to a hospital for treatment. Instead, the employee was sent to his native village in a bus.

An incident of 'pure panic' and 'abuse', claims designer's husband

Meanwhile, in a video circulating on social media, appealing to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Maria B said that her house was raided by police personnel "as if I was the biggest drug mafia don in Lahore, with guns".

In another video, sitting alongside the designer, Saeed said that the incident was one of "pure panic" and "abuse". He said that around 20-25 police officers had come to get him. He said he had not resisted the police and had asked them why they had come to get him and where they were going to take him.

In an official statement, the Lahore police spokesperson dismissed the criticism and said that they had taken "timely action and sent a message to other violators".

As per the spokesperson, Maria B's husband, Saeed, had sent his employee packing, despite knowing that the employee's laboratory test (for the coronavirus) was positive.

"In present emergency situation, reporting of such incidents to health department is compulsory," the statement read, adding that the patient had met numerous people during his visit to his native village, Karam Pur, in tehsil Mailsi, district Vehari.

According to the police, this had left "almost hundreds of innocent people vulnerable to the coronavirus".

The statement added that Saeed had been released on bail.