13 passengers who flew from Italy to India tested positive for Covid then ran away from quarantine

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Healthcare workers wearing personal protective equipment outside a hospital in Ahmedabad, India. Not related to this story.
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  • 125 passengers who flew from Milan to Amritsar tested positive for Covid-19, the BBC reported.
  • 13 of them reportedly escaped their mandatory quarantine while in India.
  • 9 ran away from the airport, while 4 escaped after tricking hospital officials, the report said.
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Thirteen passengers who flew from Milan, Italy, to Amritsar, India, on Wednesday tested positive for Covid-19 and then ran away from quarantine, the BBC reported, citing Indian officials.

Nine of the passengers ran away from the Amritsar airport, while the other four escaped a local hospital, city official Sherjang Singh told the BBC.

Officials at the Guru Nanak Dev Hospital told India's NDTV channel that the four appeared to have "tricked the health officials," the BBC reported, without further details. It's not clear how the nine passengers escaped the airport.

The 13 who escaped were among 125 passengers on the Milan-to-Amritsar flight who tested positive for Covid-19, the BBC and NDTV reported.

Amritsar Gurpreet Singh Khehra, the deputy commissioner of Amritsar, told NDTV the government would start cancelling the passengers' passports and threatened to make their photos public. It is unclear what passports they hold.

"If they don't return by morning, we will publish their photos in the newspaper and register cases against them," Khehra said. "We are trying our best to keep our district away from the disease and negligence of patients will not be tolerated at any cost."

India has categorised Italy as an "at-risk" country, meaning the passengers would have had to take a PCR test up to 72 hours before departure, the Indian Express reported.

India has in recent weeks recorded the most Covid-19 cases since last June, with the outbreak fuelled largely by the Omicron variant. The country reported 387,582 new cases in the last week, according to a tracker by Johns Hopkins University.

Earlier this week Indian officials imposed a weekend curfew, with all nonessential activity banned between Friday night and Monday morning, Al Jazeera reported.

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