Police chase down suspected virus patient who bolted hospital, took train

Police chase down suspected virus patient who bolted hospital, took train

Man hauled out of carriage in Beersheba by cops wearing full protective clothing

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A man suspected of being infected with coronavirus was arrested Monday night after he fled a hospital, with police finally nabbing him on a train in the southern city of Beersheba.

The patient had left the emergency room of the Hillel Yaffa hospital in Hadera and took a train going south. Police were alerted and stopped the train at the Beersheba station where it waited for over an hour until cops arrived wearing full protective clothing. The officers combed the train until they found the man and hauled him away to Soroka Medical Center in the city for further testing and treatment for the virus.

Police took down the personal details of all other passengers on the train, the Ynet website reported.

Video shared on social media showed the handcuffed man being taken away by two officers in white suits and masks.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, a couple arrived at a health clinic in Tel Aviv after feeling unwell. Initial testing indicated they could be suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. They were told to wait in an isolated room while staff summoned the Magen David Adom ambulance service whose medics, clad in full protection suits, have been carrying out testing across the country.

However, the couple did not follow instructions and left the room, Hebrew media reported, wandering around the clinic. Staff then called police to attend to the situation.

Police in a statement called on the public to adhere to Health Ministry instructions and warned that failing to do so undermines the national campaign to prevent the virus spreading.

The incidents came after on Monday a patient who had been diagnosed with the coronavirus tried to escape from a quarantine unit at the Wolfson Hospital in Holon, breaking open doors and smashing a window. Police arrived and helped return the man to his room. Authorities said that after he recovers from the disease and is released from quarantine, he will be summoned for questioning.

As of Tuesday there have been 324 confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel. Tens of thousands more have been ordered into self-quarantine amid fears they were exposed to the virus by those who are infected.

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