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Coronavirus | Delhi rolls back order on institutional quarantine

File photo of Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.

File photo of Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.   | Photo Credit: PTI

A day after it was announced, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal rolled back his order making 5-day institutional quarantine mandatory for COVID-19 patients in Delhi. The move was vehemently opposed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the first instalment of a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and his Deputy Manish Sisodia on Saturday morning.

This was followed by another meeting at 5 p.m. where the DDMA approved recommendations of a High Level Expert Committee for fixing rates of hospital beds for treatment. The committee was constituted on the directions of Union Home Minister Amit Shah under the Chairmanship of Dr. Vinod K Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, to fix rates charged by private hospitals in Delhi for isolation beds, ICUs without ventilator support and ICUs with ventilator support.

Also read: Baijal reviews quarantine arrangements in Capital

Rates for isolation bed, ICUs without and with ventilator in all hospitals are capped at ₹8,000-10,000, ₹13,000-15,000 and ₹15,000-18,000 respectively. The rates approved by the committee would be applicable to all COVID beds up to the upper limit of 60% of bed capacity of the private hospitals. This will provide much-needed relief to the people of Delhi with drastic reduction in treatment charges from current charges of ₹24,000-25,000, ₹34,000-43,000 and ₹44,000-54,000 respectively.

“Regarding institutional isolation, only those positive cases which do not require hospitalisation on clinical assessment and do not have adequate facilities for home isolation would be required to undergo institutional isolation,” Mr. Baijal tweeted after the meeting.

Issued in his capacity as the Chairperson of the DDMA, Mr. Baijal’s order said the 5-day institutional quarantine would mandatorily apply to each case currently under home quarantine. In a city where close to an estimated 80% of the infected patients are under home isolation, the Delhi government had called the decision ‘arbitrary’ and asked it be reconsidered.

“The issue of mandatory institutional quarantine was also discussed in detail. As the government has started intensive community-based rapid testing, it is possible that individuals who are positive may have moderate to severe illness necessitating hospitalisation which can be missed if they are home isolated,” the Raj Niwas said.

To prevent this from happening, it said, all individuals who are positive would be referred to the COVID care centres for assessment of clinical conditions, the severity and the presence of co-morbidities.

Simultaneously, it also said, 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.

“If adequate facility for home isolation exists and the person on clinical assessment does not require hospitalisation, he would be offered to either continue to stay in COVID centre/paid isolation facility [hotels etc] or can opt for home isolation,” the Raj Niwas said.

“Those who are in home isolation should follow the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and should stay in touch with healthcare providers so that if their condition deteriorates, they can be moved to the COVID hospitals. The earlier orders would be amended accordingly,” it said.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted, “All apprehensions of L-G sir regarding home isolation were resolved in the SDMA meeting and now the system of home isolation will continue. We thank L-G sir for this. Under the leadership of our Chief Minister Kejriwalji, the people of Delhi will not face any problem.”

He also said after stopping the home isolation, the L-G had also stopped the work of the company which was counselling the patients at home. He said the facility would continue till Monday and its other options would be discussed on Monday.

“The Central Committee had advised 60% COVID beds in private hospitals at a lower rate. Very few beds would have been available at a lower price in that case. Now 100% beds will be available at a lower price. Decision — 100% COVID beds shall be subsidised up to an upper limit of 60% of hospital capacity,” he tweeted after the second meeting.

After the first meeting, Mr. Sisodia said they could not reach a consensus with the Central government-appointed Lt. Governor during a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority. He said they would meet again at 5 p.m.

“The State Disaster Management Authority meeting did not agree on both issues — rate of private hospital beds and L-G sir’s order to end home isolation. Now the meeting will be held again at 5 p.m.,” he said in a tweet.

On Friday, the Union Home Ministry had said a committee set up by the Ministry had recommended capping the price of isolation beds in private hospitals between ₹8,000-₹18,000 per day.

“The Delhi government opposed the L-G sir’s decision regarding ending home isolation. There was no decision on this either. There will be discussion again in the evening,” Mr. Sisodia said in another tweet. 

Earlier in the day, AAP national spokesperson Raghav Chadha said, “According to our calculation by June 30, 15,000 beds would be required [in Delhi]. But after this order by the BJP, 90,000 beds would be required. From where will these 90,000 beds come? Who will get these beds? Delhi is the only state in the country where this order is being implemented.”

After the first DDMA meeting happened, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh termed the L-G’s order a “dictatorial decision”.

“The Central government has passed an order in Delhi in which it is said any person who is corona positive, now he won’t have the right to stay at home, he won’t have the right to home isolation. He will be kept in railway coaches. I want to ask what dictatorial order is this? One rule for the country and another rule for Delhi. Is the BJP government taking revenge on the people?” Mr. Singh said addressing media.

“The Central government is saying that in Delhi even if one is a mild case, the person will be put in a railway coach. Is the railway coach liveable? In this 47 degree Celsius, the railway coach is like a furnace. There is no facility of AC in it and the BJP says go and stay in it. I feel it is an unjust order.”

Mr. Singh also said the Delhi government wants to make 60% beds in private hospitals at reduced rates, but the Central government is saying only 24% beds would be reserved at reduced rates. The issue was raised by Mr. Sisodia also.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 5:28:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-anil-baijal-rolls-back-order-on-five-day-mandatory-institutional-quarantine/article31877731.ece

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