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Three Venezuelan minors who tested positive for COVID-19 escaped state quarantine on Tuesday, potentially exposing many others to the virus.

Nurses at Canada Hall at the University of the West Indies’ St Augustine campus, which is being used as a quarantine facility, reported to officers at the St Joseph Police Station that the teenage girls did not report for breakfast.

Police confirmed the escape, which was first brought to the attention of the CNC3 newsroom by an eyewitness who is also quarantined at the facility and provided additional details about the incident.

The police report, which was made at 2 pm on Tuesday, said when the three teenage girls did not show up between 8 am and 12 pm, a check was made but they were not found, prompting staff at the facility to seek police assistance in locating them.

The escaped patients are aged 14, 15 and 17.

The eyewitness said the Venezuelan girls waited until everyone was asleep and “fled.” It is believed the girls jumped one of the gates and were picked up by a waiting vehicle. Their escape is now being investigated.

The teenagers’ premature re-entry into the public domain now has the potential to expose many other people to the virus and would constitute a breach of the quarantine order.

They can face a fine and six months in jail for the breach.

Last week, police were also asking for the public’s help in finding Venezuelan national Daniel Arcia Arvelaez, who was considered a person of interest. He was described as a risk to citizens’ safety because of a connection to the COVID-19 pandemic.