A case has been registered against a 35-year-old man for bolting from a quarantine centre in Odisha’s Jharsuguda even as the coronavirus positive cases surged to 170 in the Ganjam district where around 150 migrant workers fled a quarantine centre on Sunday citing paucity of water. The man escaped on Monday, even before the sample of his swab test were out, raising fears of a possible spike in the COVID-19 infection in the region.
The police have registered a case against the absconder, Asif Khan, who had come to Jharsuguda from Nala road, Rourkela, a known coronavirus affected area on April 26, 2020. He had reportedly visited a containment zone at Nala Road of Rourkela town in neighbouring Sundargarh district and was therefore lodged at the BTM school quarantine centre in Jharsuguda from April 27, 2020.
The Nala Road containment zone which was visited by Khan is a Muslim-dominated region and has so far reported 7 positive coronavirus cases, including the recent case of a 29-year-old woman.
Man lodged in quarantine centre in Jharsuguda for coming from Rourkela (Nala Road – #COVID19 affected area) on April 26, flees the camp without permission or knowledge of competent authority. Jharsuguda police registers case to trace out the absconding detainee pic.twitter.com/mIzlLvzcVH— OTV (@otvnews) May 5, 2020
Khan’s swab sample was sent for testing and the results were awaited. However, in the wee hours of May 4, 2020, he fled away from the quarantine centre without permission or knowledge of any competent authorities of the isolation centre.
Khan has been booked under Sections 188, 269, 270 and 271 of the Indian Penal Code and an investigation into his escape has been ordered by the police. Measures are being taken by the authorities to trace the absconded quarantine detainee.
Fleeing of suspected coronavirus patient pose a major risk to the country
Earlier, in the first week of April, 3 people suspected of carrying Wuhan coronavirus, managed to escape from the government quarantine centre in Kolkata late last night, setting alarm bells ringing about the security of the containment centres. A massive manhunt was launched by the Kolkata police the subsequent morning after which the three escapees were traced.
In another such incident, a man named Javed Khan who was accused of attacking policemen in Tatpatti Bakhal area of Indore earlier in April was arrested again after fleeing a quarantine facility. Javed Khan, who had allegedly attacked doctors and cops had later tested positive with Chinese coronavirus on April 11. He was later shifted to an isolation ward in Jabalpur. He along with 6 other people were earlier arrested under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) for attacking a team of doctors in the Tatpatti Bakhal area in Indore.
Escaping patients suspected of being infected with COVID-19 pose a massive threat to the country’s battle against the coronavirus. The immensity of the danger posed by coronavirus victims fleeing quarantine was best encapsulated by the meteoric rise of the outbreak in South Korea, enabled by a single coronavirus patient who refused to employ social distancing and was believed to have engendered 80 per cent of the total coronavirus cases in the country.