Hyderabad: Amid the rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, the University of Hyderabad (UoH) said that it had lost one student and an office assistant to the virus.

Mallikarjun Rao Nakkala, a PhD student in the School of Computer and Information Sciences, died on 29 April due to multiple infections from Dengue and COVID-19 at Ongole in Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh.

He returned to his village on 17 April and was suffering from a mild fever. Two days later he went to get himself tested for COVID-19. Both rapid antigen test and RT-PCR tests came back negative. When his fever did not subside, he went to Chirala Medical college where he was diagnosed with multiple Dengue and COVID-19 infections on 24 April. The doctor advised him to get hospitalized just as a precautionary measure and he was kept under observation.

At the time, his oxygen level was 98. But the next day it dropped to 85 and then 75. Doctors sent him to Ongole government hospital. On Tuesday, his oxygen level rose to 85.

According to his friends, he was doing well in his research and would have submitted his PhD thesis by this year-end. "

"We mourn the sudden loss of our student, who had a very bright career ahead. We hope his family, friends, and acquaintances find the strength to bear the loss. We extend our heartfelt condolences and support to them in these difficult times," said the university.

The student community mourns the demise of Mallikarjun. "We express our heartfelt condolences to the aggrieved family members," said the Students' union.

Meanwhile, P. Srinivas, 42, an office staff member in the department of sociology, passed away on 27 April due to COVID-19.

"He had been the backbone of our department and a very kind person who always prioritized the necessities of students. This is a huge loss to the students," said a student.

Srinivas tested positive for COVID-19 last week and was undergoing treatment. He is survived by his wife and two daughters. "He has been with the department of sociology since 2014 and his untimely death is a great loss to all of us," said another student.

His death is a great loss to the campus community. We pay our heartfelt condolences to the grieving family and friends," said Students' Union.

UoH has allowed 1,300 students, including research scholars and final-semester post-graduate students in the sciences and practical disciplines such as performing arts and fine arts, to stay in the hostels.

According to Appa Rao Podile, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, around 100 cases of COVID-19 have been detected on the campus. "The situation on the campus has now reached an alarming proportion with around 100 positive cases. It is in this scenario, the stakeholders are strongly advised to be extra attentive to the grave dangers this pandemic could throw," said the VC.

Like many students, administrative staff and faculties from different schools and centers of the university have tested positive for COVID-19. At present, nearly 20 students are isolated at the university's isolation center Lake View Guest House.

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