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Coronavirus crisis: Is home isolation a good idea?

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New Delhi, Apr 29: The Union Health Ministry on Monday released a new set of guidelines for the management of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19.

coronavirus

In the guidelines, the Health Ministry said that those with very mild symptoms, or who are asymptomatic can now be in home isolation, instead of being admitted in a hospital.

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However, this is contingent on a set of conditions.

a. There should be a 24 hours caregiver to the suspected patient.

b. There should be communication between the caregiver and a hospital.

c. The suspected patient should download the Aarogya Setu app and keep it active.

d. The patient should regularly provide updates to the district surveillance officer

e. If severe symptoms develop, the suspected patient must seek immediate medical attention

f. The period of home isolation will end only after the suspected patient is tested negative and a medical officer provides a certificate.

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However, this decision by the central government can be seen welcoming to the people. Also, it is clear that a large number of infected individuals have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. Home isolation also helps when there is a surge of cases and India would not have the requisite infrastructure to cope with it.

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However, implementing this would be a real challenge to people. Taking India's population into consideration, a large section of people live in cramped homes, sharing a room with several other people and do not have the space to exercise this option. For those who can avail this option, the obstacle will be in monitoring.

Also, it should be noted that there is often a rapid decline, where patients with no symptoms end up developing severe symptoms, at which point, the chances of survival is crucial. This means, there must not be any delay in hospital admissions with respect to suspected COVID-19 patients. But, if these drawbacks are highlighted, the Health Ministry's home isolation guideline can be a good move by the Centre.

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