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Family of Indian student fighting ‘last stage’ tumour seeks permission to travel to Australia amid COVID-19 restrictions

Sydney-based Harpreet Singh’s family is urging authorities in India to allow them to travel amid coronavirus restrictions so they can meet him “one last time.”

Harpreet’s brother, Gurpreet Singh is running from pillar to post, ever since he was told by doctors, that his elder brother’s brain tumour was rapidly spreading in his body, despite multiple surgeries over the past year.


 Highlights:

  • Gurpreet's brother Harpreet is battling 'last stage' brain tumour at a Sydney hospital
  • Family pleads for permission to travel from India to Australia amid COVID-19 restrictions
  • Family claims Harpreet has no more than a month's life expectancy

Mr Singh, who is currently in Kaithal in northern India, is pleading with authorities to make an exception for his elderly mother, who is counting every single second to be reunited with her son.

“We are begging the Indian authorities to please consider our request so we can see Harpreet for one last time,” the 29-year-old told SBS Punjabi.

Harpreet Singh brain tumour
Harpreet Singh was diagnosed with a tumour in his brain in 2019.
Supplied

He added that both he and his mother have visitor visas for Australia and all they need is permission to travel to be with Harpreet, who is battling for his life alone in Sydney’s Westmead Hospital.

“Both I and mother have multiple entry visitor visas to Australia. All we need is permission to travel. And if you can’t let us travel, please airlift my brother so that he can be with his family in his last moments,” said Mr Singh.

Harpreet Singh brain tumour
A snapshot of Gurpreet Singh's Facebook appeal.
Supplied

India is currently in a nationwide lockdown, that was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24, joining a growing list of countries that have made a similar move.

The 21-day lockdown was imposed to contain the spread of the virus and keep the country’s already-fragile health system from buckling under a surge of patients.

­­­­Gurpreet said the situation is taking a toll on his elderly parents who have been surviving on the courtesy of a nurse in the hospital, who video calls them every single day so they can, at least, see their son.

“She calls us every day for a few minutes so we can look at Harpreet’s face. He is totally unresponsive and all alone in the hospital, with no family support.

“He just stares at the camera, while my mum reads out paath (holy scriptures) to him so that he can feel at peace,” said the 29-year-old.

Harpreet Singh brain tumour
A letter from Harpreet Singh's neurosurgeon.
Supplied

Thirty-year-old Harpreet who arrived in Hobart in Australia on a student visa was diagnosed with a tumour in his brain last year. He later shifted to Sydney for medical treatment.

Mr Singh said his brother has since undergone four intense surgeries and multiple treatments, and the doctors have now told them that his life expectancy is no more than a month.

“I spoke to his surgeon last week. He told me that the tumour has multiplied in Harpreet’s brain and has also spread to his spine, making him unable to move.

“The doctors have told us that he has less than a month to survive. Now only a miracle can save him,” said the anxious brother.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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