Coronavirus | Railways trace, isolate Assam man who fled Kerala quarantine

Search on for Rajasthan-returned man who fled home after villagers raised an alarm

March 19, 2020 10:28 pm | Updated 10:58 pm IST - GUWAHATI

A Guwahati Municipal Corporation worker sprays disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus, in Guwahati, Assam on March 19, 2020.

A Guwahati Municipal Corporation worker sprays disinfectant as a precaution against the coronavirus, in Guwahati, Assam on March 19, 2020.

Personnel of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) on Wednesday night traced and isolated an Assam man who had fled a quarantine centre for COVID-19 in Kerala.

The 24-year-old man, from Lahorighat in central Assam’s Morigaon district, was taken off a train at western Assam’s New Bongaigaon railway station and kept at an isolation ward of the railway hospital there for further observation.

Morigaon district’s Superintendent of Police Swapnaneel Deka said the Kerala police had tipped them off about the man having fled a quarantine facility along with two others – one from Odisha and the other from West Bengal.

“We tracked his mobile phone and alerted the railways after the train he was in entered Assam,” he said.

NFR spokesperson Subhanan Chanda said the man confessed to have fled from the Kerala quarantine centre. “He travelled by train to Chennai and Howrah. In Kolkata, he boarded the Kanchenjungha Express and was supposed to get down at the Guwahati station,” he added.

RPF personnel took him off the train at New Bongaigaon while doctors screened all the other passengers in the general coach he was travelling in. “The isolation ward is being guarded to prevent the man from escaping again while all the other passengers have been advised to go for home quarantine according to norms,” Mr. Chanda said.

A local youth who returned from Rajasthan with cough and fever a couple of days ago has put a village in central Assam’s Nagaon district on the edge. Suspecting that he was infected with the novel coronavirus, neighbours called in health officials.

But the youth fled when he saw an ambulance and health officials arriving to test him. Villagers have joined the local police in searching for him.

Cancellation of trains

On Thursday, the NFR cancelled a number of trains as a precautionary measure and advised people to avoid inessential travel. The Assam government also added beauty parlours, barber shops, libraries, bars, museums and coaching centres to the list of public facilities for closure till March 31.

The government had shut down all educational institutes, swimming pools, gymnasiums, children’s parks and all national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

There are reports of people across urban areas in Assam and elsewhere in the Northeast stocking up essentials, fearing the markets could be shut down soon.

The State’s health officials advised people not to panic and claimed the State has not recorded any COVID-19 positive case so far.

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