Bhubaneswar/Cuttack: An Irishman, suspected of being infected with coronavirus, fled from a Cuttack hospital on Thursday but was traced to a hotel in Bhubaneswar where he and another person he had come in contact with have been kept in isolation, officials said.
Though the two were allowed to remain in isolation at the Bhubaneswar hotel, the administration later decided to put them in the special isolation ward meant for suspected coronavirus infected persons.
In accordance with the protocol to manage coronavirus cases, they will be kept in mandatory isolation for 14 days.
"The blood and swab sample of both of them will be collected and sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune," said Ashok Patnaik, the director of Capital Hospital. Patnaik said they will be kept in hospital till their test reports are received.
Meanwhile, a bulletin issued by the health department said all the 12 samples collected from the state have tested negative. The 12 reports included that of an Uttar Pradesh couple who had returned to Paradip through a cargo ship from China on March 1.
So far 129 persons who returned from coronavirus-affected countries after January 15 have been kept in home quarantine as per the protocol, the bulletin said.
The 37-year-old Irishman along with his Indian associate had fled from SCB Medical College and Hospital here on Thursday night following which a complaint was lodged with Mangalabag police station.
He was on a business trip to India since February 26 and had checked into a hotel in Bhubaneswar.
The foreigner had gone to the Capital Hospital with an associate on Thursday for a check-up as he had mild fever and runny nose for two days.
"When the consulting doctor advised him to remain in isolation for 14 days, the accompanying associate suggested that he be referred to SCB Medical College in Cuttack where better facilities are available," the Director of the Capital Hospital, said.
The two then reached SCB Medical College and Hospital without any escort, officials said.
"After reaching here, when the associate learnt that he was also supposed to be admitted in the isolation ward along with the Irish national, both escaped," Emergency Officer at the facility BN Maharana said.
When the matter was brought to the notice of police, an alert was sounded. The authorities of Capital Hospital finally located the duo at a hotel in the city.
Meanwhile, Health and Family Welfare Minister NK Das said the Centre has agreed to set up a coronavirus test laboratory at the RMRC here.
"I have also written a letter to the Union Health Minister requesting him to open another such testing facility at SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack," Das said.
The Minister said now, the samples collected from Odisha are being sent to NIV, Pune which confirms the cases in at least three to four days. Therefore, the state needs its own testing facility, Das said.