A man, in a faded orange shirt and jeans, can be seen running along the sides of a busy town in Kerala. Four people, donned in personal protective equipment (PPE) along with masked police personnel, can be seen chasing him. The startling visuals are from Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district on Monday when a man violated quarantine and ran away frantically after seeing health officials who came to take him back to quarantine.
The man who was identified as a native of Chenneerkara in Pathanamthitta district, according to police officials, returned from Riyadh three days ago. In violation of home quarantine, the man travelled almost 10 kilometres from his house in Chenneerkara to Pathanamthitta town.
Though police initially tried to make him go back, as he was refusing, health officials were called to the spot to talk to him. But the man frantically attempted to escape from them, running away into busy traffic. He was later forcefully nabbed by health officials.
The incident unfolded before the public and media personnel who also tried to cordon off the man’s escape attempts.
In one of the videos of the incident, the man can be seen sitting beside some shops along the road. In another startling video, health workers in PPE can be seen approaching him, asking him to return. He can be seen trying to tell them not to come near him and appears to be increasingly disturbed as the health workers approach and talk to him. He tells the health workers not to touch him.
At one point, when the man tries to run away from outside a tiles shop, breaking the display, one of the health workers nabs him from behind. In a frenzy, the man tries to clasp the health worker’s head. Though other members of the team tried to get hold of him, he managed to run away. He was soon nabbed by the health team and the police. The man is then clasped to a stretcher and taken inside an ambulance.
Sanitation workers were called in to fumigate the areas along where the man had run.
Speaking to TNM about the incident, officials at the Pathanamthitta police station said that the man travelled about 10 kilometres, violating quarantine rules.
“He was not wearing a mask properly, so police officials in the routine check up on the road called him up. It was then that they understood that he was in home quarantine and he left home following a quarrel with his wife. As he appeared to have been mentally disturbed, police officials called health workers and could not get closely involved with him knowing he was in quarantine,” said Pathanamthitta Station House Officer (SHO) Neoman S.
The man has now been shifted to the Kozhencherry government hospital for observation.
Reacting to the incident, Pathanamthitta district collector PB Nooh called it an unfortunate incident.
“For the last four months, health workers and everyone have been taking a lot of efforts to contain the spread. This was an unfortunate incident. If people are not cooperative, we won’t be able to handle the situation effectively,” the collector told Manorama News.