PATNA: About 70 people fled from a quarantine center in the Indian state of Bihar’s Nawada district, alleging poor facilities and lack of food.
They are among the tens of thousands of migrant workers who left India’s cities when a nationwide virus lockdown was imposed March 25, walking toward their home villages fearing starvation if they remained.
Local TV broadcast images of the migrants running from the center with their belongings on Saturday. As many as 150 migrants are quarantined at Aadarsh Inter School at Sirdala block in Nawada district, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from the state capital of Patna.
District magistrate Yashpal Meena says 50 of the migrants fled after one of the occupants tested positive for COVID-19. He says at least 15 were found and brought back to the center.
India’s pace of infection has spread in recent days since Prime Minister Narendra Modi partly lifted the lockdown to ease the economic hardships on migrant workers. The government is running special trains to give immigrants rides back home after 14 days in quarantine.
India has reported just under 60,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and 1,981 deaths.