By Arré Bench Jul. 17, 2020
Raging floods in Assam have displaced tens of thousands of people and an inferno at a gas plant has been burning despite efforts to extinguish it for weeks. And now, about 100 patients at a coronavirus quarantine centre in Kamrup district escaped the facility to stage a protest over their treatment.
The Northeastern state of Assam is going through a very difficult period. Raging floods have displaced tens of thousands of people and inundated huge tracts of land, an inferno at a gas plant has been burning despite efforts to extinguish it for weeks, and the number of coronavirus cases within the state continues to climb. With the state’s resources stretched so thin, approximately 100 patients at a coronavirus quarantine centre in the Kamrup district escaped the facility to stage a protest over their treatment.
100 Patients Break Out Of Assam COVID Care Centre; Block Highway https://t.co/diHnhPXzc9
— NDTV News feed (@ndtvfeed) July 17, 2020
The situation unfolded on Thursday, July 16, when the 100 or so patients escaped the Covid care centre in Changsari, within Kamrup district. After leaving the facility, the group made its way to the nearby National Highway 31, where they blocked traffic and staged a protest. According to their claims, they were not being provided with food and water at the quarantine centre. They also alleged that authorities at the quarantine centre were overcrowding the facility by stuffing 10 to 12 patients in a single room.
Around hundred patients broke out of a COVID-19 care centre in Assam’s Kamrup district and blocked the National Highway 31, alleging that they were not being provided with proper food and water.https://t.co/5XpDDDFKsX
— The Wire (@thewire_in) July 17, 2020
With the protestors blocking traffic on a main road, police arrived on the scene with Kamrup Deputy Commissioner Kailash Kartik. Kartik heard out the grievances of the protestors and assurances that their concerns would be addressed. After a dialogue between the police and the protestors, the group agreed to return to the quarantine centre in Changsari.
100 patients run away from coronavirus care centre in Assam; block NH31 https://t.co/wbZPcXV9JP
— Business Today (@BT_India) July 17, 2020
Addressing the issue at a press conference, Assam’s Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “We have brought them to the facility so that they can be cured and do not infect others. If they are not happy there, they can sign the undertaking and go under home quarantine.” Sarma claimed that any problems faced by the protestors was due to health workers in the state being overburdened.
Assam: Over 100 patients break out of Covid care centre, hit streets to protest poor facilities https://t.co/Jm9wgH87c8
The patients alleged that they were not provided with food and water and added that the condition of the beds was also not up to the mark.
— scroll.in (@scroll_in) July 17, 2020
This is not the first time people have escaped from quarantine centres in Assam, or even in India, due to alleged neglect. Unfortunately, it’s also unlikely to be the last.