Suspected COVID-19 patient escapes Srinagar hospital after stray dogs enter ward

A woman, who had returned from Europe last week and admitted to a hospital here with symptoms for coronavirus, left the facility for home after stray dogs entered her ward, her family said on Thursday, refuting the administration’s claim that she had escaped.

“The claims of the administration that they had tracked her are nothing but lies. We had to take her out of the Chest Disease Hospital at Dalgate at 3 am as there were stray dogs in the ward where she was admitted,” a relative of the woman told PTI.

“If they had collected any samples, where are the reports then?” he asked.

The relative said while the government was issuing advisories against revealing the names of those suspected of having the coronavirus, all the details about the woman were leaked to the media.

“You name the locality where she lives and the country she came from. And then expect no one will know who she is. Are they so naive?” he asked.

An officer in the cyber crime department urged people not to reveal identity of coronavirus positive cases — living or dead — on social media.

“Please don’t share names and pictures of #COVID2019 suspects, positive or fatality. This act of yours attracts legal action. Behave sensibly and responsibly,” Kashmir cyber police officer Tahir Ashraf tweeted, adding “Putting such information openly on social media platforms is punishable under law”.

After a radio jockey posted on Twitter the alleged escape, Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary had responded by saying “Tracked. Admitted again. Legal action to follow.”

The deputy commissioner did not respond to repeated calls to seek his comment on the allegations levelled by the family.

The administration claims that more than 150 persons, accused of hiding travel history, have been traced and admitted to various quarantine facilities.

“Control Room traced 152 undeclared cases of perons returned from UAE, Iran,Hungary,Taiwan,Malysia, Combodia, Italy,Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia,Kazakhstan. Put under quarantine.We continue to request people to come forward and self-report. Help docs,Urself,family & society,” Chaudhary said in a tweet.