Coronavirus lockdown | Hungarian cyclist quarantined in Bihar for 55 days

He leaves the facility Chhapra Sadar, is brought back, and asks to be freed in a video posted on social media

Hungarian cyclist Victor Zicho, who was on his way to Darjeeling in West Bengal, has already been quarantined at a hospital in Chhapra Sadar town in Bihar’s Saran district for 55 days. He left the facility quietly in the early hours of Sunday morning to resume cycling, but was detained by policemen on NH57 near Darbhanga district on Monday. Back again in the Chhapra Sadar quarantine centre, he cried, “I must be free”, in a video that went viral on social media.

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Mr. Zicho’s COVID-19 sample test was returned negative.

“You brought a healthy man into a hospital. Can you imagine being in a hospital for 55 days in a healthy condition? I must be free now,” Mr. Zicho is heard saying in the video, apparently shot in his tiny hospital room.

Chappati and a potato dish is seen served to him on a plate. His belongings are seen on another bed, and his specially designed bicycle stands in a corner. The bearded young man appears annoyed with the district administration for not giving him permission to continue on his onward journey.

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An adventurer, Mr. Zicho set off his expedition 10 months ago, with the tomb of Hungarian adventurer and philologist Sandor Korosi Csoma as his destination.

In the video, he accuses the Saran district administration for keeping him in a quarantine centre for so long without valid reasons. He praises local people as “very kind, helpful and cute”.

Saran District Magistrate Subrat Kumar Sen could not be contacted over phone. But other district officials told The Hindu over phone, while requesting anonymity: “If Victor wants to go to Delhi or Patna for better quarantine facilities, it can be arranged, but the lockdown rules do not permit him to continue his journey on cycle.”

Also read: India lockdown 4.0 guidelines | What’s allowed and what’s not?

Tejashwi’s assurance

“There is no lockdown on the road…people are moving freely,” he is seen saying in another video shared by Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav. In the video, Mr. Yadav is seen interacting with Mr. Zicho, assuring him of good quality food and accommodation.

“Spoke to Mr. Victor Zicho, a stranded Hungarian citizen & assured him of all possible assistance. Also directed District administration to ensure quality food & stay for him. Spoke to top officials to explore what best could be done to relocate him. Our guests in Bihar are our responsibility,” Mr. Yadav tweeted.

Also read: Coronavirus | NDMA directs Centre, States to extend lockdown till May 31

Earlier, while sharing a video of Mr. Zicho, the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader drew the attention of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in a tweet: “Hon’ble Nitish Kumar Ji ! On social media went through this video. Listen to the ordeal of this Hungarian national who has been quarantined for 50 days in Bihar’s hospital. In spirit of our ‘athithi devo bhava’ he should’ve been given warmest hospitality not traumatized in hospital. Spoke to officials, also requesting you to provide him with best shelter, food & other facilities immediately. He is our guest and should have a memorable experience in our state. Kindly pursue his matter at your level. Thanks.”

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 7:15:14 PM |

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