Covid-19: Why people flee quarantine centres | India News


NEW DELHI: People fleeing quarantine centres, struggling with unhygienic rooms and toilets, being treated like untouchables, living in cramped rooms, fighting for food. Even as Covid-19 cases surge across the country and quarantine centres run by state governments begin to overflow, tales of woes at these centres in many states continue to spill over.
A number of cases of people fleeing quarantine centres to commit suicide has been pouring in. While a labourer in Yavatmal in Maharashtra hanged himself from a tree after fleeing a centre on Saturday, a person in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj also committed suicide on Thursday.
Many are also fleeing to escape sordid conditions and lack of facilities.
It has been 48 hours since Sundararaj (43) fled from Tamil Nadu’s biggest medical facility — Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital — and police are yet to trace him. What worries authorities is that he is part of the notorious ‘Koyambedu cluster’ which is responsible for infection of more than 2,000 people in Tamil Nadu.
In Latehar in Jharkhand, over 100 migrants escaped from a quarantine centre on Friday to escape from poor facilities there. They were later brought back by the police.
Several incidents of migrants fleeing quarantine centres have been reported from many districts in Bihar. On Thursday, 17 inmates of a centre in Nalanda escaped.
And, while those in quarantine struggle to cope with unhygienic conditions, the stigma of being in quarantine is adding to the woes of many. A woman who has been in a centre in Pune, said: “When the hostel in charge comes to distribute food packets, he kicks the door open and throws food packets at us. We are not untouchables.”
“The guards and employees at our quarantine centre push or throw food packets at us. This is inhuman. Even if we are suspects, we deserve some respect,” said a man at a quarantine centre at a private university in Rajasthan.
Lack of basic amenities and cleanliness is leading to ruckus at quarantine centres. There were problems at quarantine centres in Rajasthan when people complained of mismanagement, especially unclean washroom and delayed supply of meals.
Dirty toilets and insufficient quantity of food have been the most common complaints from quarantine centres in and around Mumbai, where over 12,000 people are in institutional quarantine.
In Mumbai, when a Breach Candy resident put her domestic help, who tested Covid positive last week, in civic quarantine, the patient texted to say the bedsheets hadn’t been changed, the toilets were stinking and there was a menace of mosquitoes.
Lack of medical care has also been the bane of many.
A family that was placed in quarantine in a housing colony in Bhiwandi complained that their father, a diabetic, had been asked to bring his own medicines from home. “In the rush, we didn’t pack enough and are worried about running out of tablets. The doctor sits on the ground floor and rarely comes up for rounds,”’ said one of the relatives.
But, it isn’t just the government-run centres where people are suffering. Shocking instances of mismanagement have emerged from hotels in Karnataka where 84 have been identified for paid institutional quarantine.
(With inputs from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Bhubaneshwar, Ranchi & Patna)



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