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Vikash Sharma

Rayagada: While Odisha is facing a serious challenge amid influx of people from neighbouring States triggering rise in COVID19 cases, reports of several truck drivers and helpers escaping from a quarantine centre in Rayagada district of the state has now given rise to another problem.

As per reports, nearly 19 truck drivers and helpers from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh escaped from a quarantine facility at Kereda panchayat in Rayagada district on April 22. The matter, however, came to light yesterday. At least 35 persons have fled two quarantine facilities in the last two days in the district, sources said.

Confirming the incident, Rayagada SP Vivek Saravana said, “The truck drivers escaped from the quarantine centre by breaking the window. Already a case has been registered and further investigation in this connection is underway.”

Also Read: With 1684 New Cases, COVID-19 Tally Crosses 23000 In India, 718 Dead

As per reports, all the truck drivers and helpers were reportedly trying to cross the Odisha border from Andhra Pradesh side on foot when they were intercepted and later lodged in a quarantine centre on March 30 during the lockdown period.

It is pertinent to mention here that the lockdown was enforced on March 22 and later extended till May 3.

During the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, arrangements were made for the accommodation of the truck drivers and helpers at a school which has been converted into to an isolation shelter. Along with the 19 truck drivers, provision for accommodation for 96 other labourers was also made at the temporary shelter, official sources said.

Though necessary arrangements including food and other amenities were there in place, the reason behind the truck drivers' escape from the facility is yet to be ascertained.

Meanwhile, the registration process to facilitate return of people, who are stranded in other States, began from today. All the stranded people will be kept under 14-day mandatory quarantine upon their return to Odisha after the lockdown ends on May 3.

State government officials informed that over 5 lakh people are expected to return to Odisha after the COVID19 lockdown ends on May 3.

Also Read: COVID-19 Outbreak: 60-Hour Complete Shutdown Ordered In 3 Odisha Districts

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