Covid-19: Delhi goes back to old system, reverses policy on home isolation norms
New Delhi, Jun 25 : The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) order for a mandatory clinical assessment and physical verification of all COVID-19 patients to determine whether they are fit for home isolation or hospitalisation was revoked on Thursday amid the Delhi government's stiff resistance against the provision.
Corona-positive persons will not be required to visit the COVID-care centres for such an assessment, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said after an SDMA meeting, which was also attended by Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The guideline that came into effect from Saturday was strongly opposed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, saying it will burden the administrative and healthcare setup and cause "chaos" in the city. Kejriwal and Sisodia had also raised the issue with the LG and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
"It was decided at the SDMA meeting to withdraw the Centre's order regarding the requirement of COVID-care centre visit by corona-positive persons," Sisodia told reporters after the meeting. He said those found COVID-19 positive through the rapid test will be clinically assessed by medical officers on the spot.
In case of those found positive for the disease through the RT-PCR test, the assessment will be done by a home isolation team sent by the district surveillance officer, the deputy chief minister added.
Home isolation has been highly successful in Delhi and around 30,000 coronavirus patients have been cured under the system, he said.
The LG's office, in a statement, said, "The patient shall be allowed home isolation if, as per the assessment of the home isolation team sent by the District Surveillance Officer, the patient is mild/pre-symptomatic/asymptomatic and has a residence of two rooms or a separate room and a separate toilet for the patient."
In case of rapid tests, the on-the-spot assessment of the medical officer will effectively constitute an assessment made at a COVID-care centre, it said. Under the revoked guideline, all COVID-19 patients were required to visit a COVID-care centre for a clinical assessment to determine if they could be kept in home isolation or needed hospitalisation.
A physical verification by separate teams was also to be done to ensure proper accommodation in case of home isolation. "We are happy that our demand to reinstate the previous system has been accepted. People were distressed due to it," Sisodia said.
The opposition to the mandatory COVID-care centre visit was due to lack of infrastructure, including ambulances and staff to take the patients to the centres, and the long hours involved in the process.
In a tweet, Baijal said, "SDMA approved modification of SOP for home isolation for Covid patients to meet the twin objectives of containment of local spread & provision of timely medical care for Covid positive cases to save precious lives." The decision was taken in accordance with the "guidance" of the Union home minister at a meeting held on June 21 to further review and strengthen the surveillance mechanism for COVID-19 cases in Delhi to prevent the spread of the pandemic, he said in another tweet.
It is absolutely essential that only those COVID-positive persons are allowed for home isolation, who have adequate facility at home to keep them separate from their families. This would require a physical verification by surveillance teams, the LG's office said in the statement.
For monitoring of the medical condition of the COVID-19 patients, trained professionals are required for a daily follow-up with the individuals concerned, it added. If a robust system to achieve these twin objectives is put in place, the risk of further spread of the disease from a patient to others during home isolation can be minimised, the statement said.