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Coronavirus | No home quarantine in Assam for returnees

Mizoram allows home isolation for those who clear rapid antibody test

The Assam Cabinet has decided not to allow home quarantine for returnees in view of the increase in COVID-19 cases, which more than doubled in five days to reach 597 by 4. 30 p.m. on Tuesday.

For want of adequate quarantine centres, Mizoram has allowed home quarantine for returnees who clear a rapid antibody test.

Assam had earlier decided to allow returnees, especially flyers, to be in home quarantine after they tested negative during seven nights in institutional quarantine.

“We have taken a decision to enforce the quarantine norms stringently because of the reported spike in the positive cases of the novel coronavirus, as well as the number of people coming in,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

About 70,000 people have returned to Assam since the Ministry of Home Affairs allowed inter-State travel from May 4.

The other decisions included disbursal of ₹2,000 a month from April to June to 3.61 lakh people of Assam, with verified accounts, stranded outside the State. This is meant to help them return later if they wish to, instead of piling pressure on the limited testing facilities and quarantine centres.

The Cabinet also decided to give ₹2,000 a month till June to folk artistes, drummers and band party members. The number of such people is not readily available. Officials of the Department of Culture said they were preparing a database of all folk artistes and musicians. “We have been paying ₹8,000 in monthly pension to 70 artistes who are no longer able to ply their trade,” a senior official said.

Mizoram Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo said the State encouraged home quarantine for the returnees as the government was hamstrung by inadequate isolation facilities. There are riders, though. “A returnee must first clear a rapid antibody test upon arrival at any designated quarantine centre, apply for home isolation to the district-level COVID-19 task force after obtaining the permission of a medical officer or the district medical board and submit the recommendation of the task force certifying the availability of a dedicated bedroom and toilet at home,” he said.

Mizoram has some 500 quarantine centres, including 170 community halls offered by churches, to accommodate 14,000 people. If all residents stranded elsewhere return, the capacity of the quarantine centres will have to be ramped up to take in at least 20,000 people, officials said.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 4:52:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-no-home-quarantine-in-assam-for-returnees/article31683041.ece

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