Love and Mental Illness: Covid+ Couple Runaway from Shillong Hosp, Reunited After High-speed Chase

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A married couple’s runaway from a covid-19 hospital and quarantine facility in Shillong to be with each other led to a four-hour-long cat and mouse chase involving district officials, officials said on Friday.

The woman, hospitalised at the Shillong Civil covid hospital under category ‘C’, ran away from the hospital to meet her husband at the Laitumkhrah market. Her husband was kept under institutional quarantine and was reported under category 'B' with mild symptoms.

The duo and a mutual friend of theirs were eventually nabbed from different locations in Laitumkhrah due to timely intervention from the local durbar, police and legislator from East Shillong constituency Dr M Ampareen Lyngdoh.

Recalling the incident, Lyngdoh said the incident includes a dramatic jump from the 108 ambulance by the friend of the couple when he was taken for testing.

"The wife disappeared from the civil hospital, she was category 'C', the man was category 'B' with mild symptoms. Apparently, they were not wearing a mask and were coughing,” she said. The man was spotted running and the police called the MLA and MDC in efforts to nab him. “It started around 6, and it continued for over 4 hours. Reportedly they wanted to be together. However, after the goose chase, we managed to rescue the man. Later we managed to get the woman too," Lyngdoh said.

“The friend was nabbed after a lot of goose chase. Since he was showing symptoms, he was being taken for testing when he jumped out of the 108 ambulance,” the local MLA said.

"The couple has been reunited as they wanted to be together," she said.

Noting the need for adequate security arrangements at quarantine facilities, the Legislator emphasized mental health. "Covid requires so many aspects of treatment. It is not physical treatment as mental health is also important. A lot of people have told me they are facing mental difficulties. They are scared,” she said.

Reacting to the incident, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsoing said, "…Maybe they were facing some psychological problems. Otherwise, as a human being, we need to understand the ground reality and situation. Anybody once tested positive minimum you need to be admitted in a hospital or home isolation for atleast 10 days."

Warning against floting of covid rules and risk of spread of infections, Tynsoing said, "If you come out within five days or six days, the virus is still alive and you are responsible for spreading to others."

Tynsoing also emphasized covid treatment and the need for care for mental illness in patients.

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