Colombo: Sri Lankan authorities on Friday caught a COVID-19 patient after he had escaped from a hospital on the outskirts of Colombo while receiving treatment, police said.
Earlier in the day, the police and army launched a massive search to catch the 41-year-old drug addict infected with COVID-19 who had escaped from the National Infectious Disease Hospital, spreading panic across Colombo, Xinhua news agency reported.
The patient, an inmate at the Kandakadu Drug Rehabilitation Center in the north-central part of the country, was transferred to the National Infectious Disease Hospitals as he had tested positive for COVID-19 and needed urgent treatment.
The Kandakadu Drug Rehabilitation Center has become a COVID-19 cluster as several inmates and employees working there had tested positive for the virus in recent days.
Army commander and Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, told Xinhua the patient had escaped early Friday morning and teams from police and army had been deployed to track him down.
The patient was found within hours at the Colombo National Hospital, Silva said.
The police had also released details of the patient along with his picture and sought public assistance to locate the patient.
Sri Lanka has so far reported 2,753 COVID-19 cases since the first infection was detected in March, the Health Ministry said.
Out of the total reported, 2,094 patients have recovered, while the death toll stood at 11.