Chaguanas Mayor Vandana Mohit and Superintendent Balliram Lalla chat during a tour of the Chaguanas Market last week.

A 24-year-old Central man is currently on the run and believed to be in hiding after fleeing from mandatory quarantine at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, on Monday night, believing he had contracted the COVID-19 virus.

However, at yesterday’s media conference update, Minister of National Security Stuart Young confirmed that the young man subsequently contacted Minister of Health Terrence Deyalisngh and Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith.

Young said the individual was in quarantine at Mt Hope and decided he no longer wanted to be there and ran off. However, he gave the assurance that there was no need for panic as the man was not positive for COVID-19.

He then gave an explanation for the information sent out by the police on the incident, saying that the officer may have been too hasty in his actions.

Young pleaded with the man’s relatives, friends and residents in his community to ensure he contacts the police.

Chaguanas Mayor Vandana Mohit also posted a statement on the incident on her Facebook timeline yesterday, urging that “residents of Jerningham Junction in particular stay indoors. Yes, it was just confirmed with TTPS that they are in search of a young man who should at this time be in quarantine due to a possible risk. Please adhere to warnings. Please.”

Guardian Media understands that police officers carried out several searches for the man, whom they say is well known to them but had no luck in finding him. Although he tested negative for the virus, the man should be in self-quarantine. According to the Quarantine Act, a person who defies quarantine can be fined $50,000 and jailed for six months.