All coronavirus patients in Delhi will be referred to COVID-19 care centres to decide if they can be isolated at their homes, the Arvind Kejriwal government said this afternoon in a revised order. The revision comes after Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Saturday withdrew an order within 24 hours on mandating a five-day institutional quarantine for anyone testing positive for coronavirus amid protests by the Aam Aadmi Party government government.
Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will now be referred to COVID-19 care centres first, according to the revised order, to assess the severity of illness.
"All individuals who are positive will be referred to the COVID care centres for assessment of clinical conditions, severity of illness and presence of co-morbities. Simultaneously, physical assessment will also be done whether adequate facilities for home isolation like minimum two rooms and separate toilet exists so that the family members and neighbours are protected and a cluster of cases does not develop in that locality," reads the new order.
"If adequate facility for home isolation exists, and the person on clinical assessment is found to have no co-morbidities and does not require hospitalization, he would be offered to either continue to stay in COVID centre/paid isolation facility (hotels etc), or can opt for home isolation. Rest of the people will have to continue to stay in COVID care centres as per the guidelines of MoHFW," it adds.
Those in home isolation have been asked to follow the guidelines laid down by the Union Health Ministry. "They should stay in touch with health care providers so that if their condition deteriorates, they can be moved to the COVID hospitals," it says.
As of Saturday,12,611 individuals in Delhi were under home isolation out of the 23,340 active cases.
Withdrawing the five-day mandatory quarantine rule within 24 hours, the Lieutenant Governor, who represents the centre and heads the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, yesterday evening tweeted: "Regarding institutional isolation, only those COVID positive cases which do not require hospitalisation on clinical assessment & do not have adequate facilities for home isolation would be required to undergo institutional isolation."
Regarding institutional isolation, only those COVID positive cases which do not require hospitalisation on clinical assessment & do not have adequate facilities for home isolation would be required to undergo institutional isolation.— LG Delhi (@LtGovDelhi) June 20, 2020
This came after sharp criticism from the ruling AAP that pointed out the shortage of healthcare staff amid rising number of coronavirus cases in Delhi. "It will further spread coronavirus as asymptomatic and mild symptom patients will resist testing and will not be quarantined," it said.
On Saturday afternoon, Mr Baijal, who has frequently clashed with Mr Kejriwal and his leaders, had met the Chief Minister, his deputy Manish Sisodia to discuss their concerns.
"Most coronavirus patients are asymptomatic... how will we make arrangements for isolating them?" Mr Kejriwal was quoted as saying at the meeting by sources. "When the nodal body - the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - gives the permission of isolation at homes for asymptomatic patients across the country, why should there be separate guidelines for Delhi?" he had asked.
According to Union Health Ministry's guidelines, "very mild/ pre-symptomatic patients have the option of home isolation".
With over 56,000 cases, Delhi has the third highest number of coronavirus cases in India.