PESHAWAR: Two brothers working as reporters with private news channels isolated themselves in own house here on Wednesday after they tested positive for novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
Asif Shehzad of GNN and Wajid Shehzad of Such TV had visited different places, where confirmed and suspected Covid-19 patients were kept, during the last one month.
“We both had run temperature for few days, so we decided to visit the Hayatabad Medical Complex for coronavirus test,” Wajid told Dawn.
The 26-year-old said the hospital’s staff members collected his and brother’s samples, while they’re diagnosed with the virus on Wednesday.
Few days ago, another TV channel’s cameraman tested positive for Covid-19. He has been in isolation at home.
Isolate themselves at home
Mr Wajid said he had also visited Mohallah Huda, where a woman was diagnosed with coronavirus a few days ago.
“I went to the locality to interview different people,” he said.
The TV reporter said his brother, Asif Shehzad, 38, had visited different areas, including a locality, where a Covid-19 patient was quarantined.
He said he and his brother had isolated themselves in a portion of their house and asked other family members not to interact with them.
“I have fever, while Asif suffers from fever and cough,” he said.
Mr Wajid said after participating in a media training on Covid-19, he knew how to quarantine and isolate himself.
The offices of the two private TV channels were sprayed with disinfectant, while one of them has been closed for three days.
The health department collected samples from staffers of the two channels for virus test.
The news of journalist brothers testing positive for Covid-19 has spread scare among the media persons, especially those working with private TV channels.
They told Dawn that their job was tough but their head offices often ignored the threat attached to the Covid-19 assignments.
Some of them said most news editors and assignment editors working in head offices lacked training, reporters and camera persons were given ‘irresponsible’ assignments increasing their vulnerability to the infection.
A reporter complained that he and other staffers of his channel didn’t get masks, gloves, hand senitisers and protective gear from the administration, and they had to manage those things by themselves or from the Peshawar Press Club.
“Initially when some persons tested positive for the virus, we were asked to try to interview those patients on camera. Similarly, we interviewed some patients after they were discharged from the hospital,” said one of the reporters.
He said the TV reporters were assigned to visit a government quarantine in Doranpur area to get comments from the residents about their problems.
“We know that we are at a higher risk of catching the virus while doing such assignments but we have to do that otherwise we will lose job,” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2020