Delhi L-G Anil Baijal orders mandatory 5-day institutional quarantine for COVID-19 cases under home quarantine, AAP calls decision 'arbitrary'

The Delhi government also said the Centre should reconsider the decision that is expected to put severe pressure on the existing health infrastructure in view of the shortage of doctors and nurses to treat serious coronavirus patients.

Press Trust of India June 20, 2020 08:51:22 IST
Delhi L-G Anil Baijal orders mandatory 5-day institutional quarantine for COVID-19 cases under home quarantine, AAP calls decision 'arbitrary'

New Delhi: Five-day institutional quarantine has been made mandatory for every COVID-19 patient under home quarantine in Delhi, Lt Governor Anil Baijal ordered on Friday, a decision the AAP government termed "arbitrary" and claimed would "seriously harm" the National Capital.

The Delhi government also said the Centre should reconsider the decision that is expected to put severe pressure on the existing health infrastructure in view of the shortage of doctors and nurses to treat serious coronavirus patients.

Delhi LG Anil Baijal orders mandatory 5day institutional quarantine for COVID19 cases under home quarantine AAP calls decision arbitrary

File image of Lt Governor Anil Baijal. News18

As of Friday, Delhi had 53,116 coronavirus cases of which 27,512 were active. The number of those under home isolation stood at 10,490. Of the 10,961 beds, only 5,078 were vacant.

Baijal further said in his order that "mandatory physical verification of each case under home quarantine is to be carried out by the surveillance teams of district surveillance officers under the overall supervision of the district magistrate" in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 in view of the surge in cases.

He also ordered discontinuation "with immediate effect" of the services of a private agency which was making telephonic contact with home quarantined individuals to guide them.

At least four district magistrates said there is no clarity yet on whether the order on institutional quarantine also covers existing home quarantined patients.

They said a clarity might come on Saturday during a high-level meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, to be chaired by the LG.

"Five days institutional quarantine of each case under home quarantine is to be made mandatory and, thereafter, (they) will be sent for home-isolation, except in cases where symptoms require further hospitalisation," Baijal said in his order.

The order implies that every coronavirus patient has to necessarily spend five days in institutional quarantine, a government-run facility dedicated for coronavirus patients.

The Delhi government, however, is not happy with what it called an "arbitrary" decision, and demanded that it be reconsidered by the Centre. Also, a senior official said the decision will only serve to scare away people from getting tested.

In a statement, the Delhi government said the home isolation programme has been one of the most successful initiatives in the battle against COVID-19.

The Delhi government has treated thousands of mild and asymptomatic cases at home so far through daily monitoring and counselling, it said, adding home isolation protocol is being carried out strictly as per ICMR guidelines and those of the Centre.

"We have been completely supportive of the Central government in our collective fight against coronavirus, but this arbitrary decision will seriously harm Delhi. They should reconsider this decision," the statement said.

Home isolation encouraged a lot of people with minor symptoms to come out and get tested as they knew that they will not be taken to a hospital or quarantine centre forcibly, it stated.

"Today's order of the Central government stopping home isolation will discourage people from testing and will further spread coronavirus as asymptomatic and those with mild symptoms will resist testing and will not be quarantined," the Delhi government said.

The entire manpower of Delhi government is already stretched, it said.

"Now, large quarantine centres would need to be made to house thousands of asymptomatic people. Thousands of patients are being treated at home at the moment. After this order, we would immediately need thousands of beds in quarantine centres," it added

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