Chennai: At a time when everyone is tensed about the coronavirus spread and its impact, a Ph.D student of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) created panic among her co-passengers in a bus with her prank, said an official.
The IIT-M student’s prank also put the Tamil Nadu Public Health Department into a state of emergency after her co-passenger called them up.
“It seems the student’s birthday is today (Saturday). After some celebrations with her friends she had boarded a private bus to Coimbatore. Her friends were following the bus in a car,” P. Sampath, Joint Director-Epidemic, Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, told IANS here.
“She had told a co-passenger seated in front of her that she was tested positive for COVID-19 three days back thereby putting him and the other passengers into a state of fear. That person called me immediately and told about her,” Sampath said.
Soon the girl went to the driver to stop the bus which he refused and then she announced to all the passengers that she had tested positive for Coronavirus.
The bus was immediately stopped and the girl got down and boarded the friend’s car that was tailing.
Meanwhile, the passengers had called the Coronavirus helpline and the travel company to send a different bus.
The health officials immediately rushed to the spot, sanitised the bus.
With the help of the ticket booking details, her phone number was traced and she was told to come to the health department office or a criminal complaint will be registered against her, Sampath said.
The girl then came to the office and pleaded that she was playing a game with her friends who had challenged to stop the bus by creating a scare that she was a coronavirus patient, Sampath said.
The girl was strictly warned and sent back, it seems officials of IIT-M too had warned her, Sampath said.
“This is the first prank call that we had received. It is shocking and surprising that a Ph.D student of IIT-M had played this prank,” Sampath added.