New Delhi: Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal Saturday withdrew the directive barring home quarantine for Covid-19 patients in the first five days of diagnosis. The order was issued less than 24 hours ago, Friday evening, and had triggered an immediate backlash from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi.
“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,” the Delhi L-G tweeted Saturday evening.
The AAP welcomed the withdrawal, and said the government will ensure the observance of home quarantine rules.
“All concerns of the LG regarding home quarantine have been resolved along with SDMA (State Disaster Management Authority or Delhi Disaster Management Authority) in a meeting. Home quarantine will not be barred and will continue,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted.
होम आइसोलेशन रोकने के बाद एलजी साहब ने अपने कल के आदेश में घर पर मरीज़ों को काउन्सलिंग देने वाली कम्पनी का काम भी रोक दिया था. अभी यह सुविधा सोमवार तक जारी रहेगी और इसके अन्य विकल्पों पर हेल्थ डिपार्टमेंट की तैयारियों के साथ सोमवार को पुनः चर्चा होगी.
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) June 20, 2020
AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj, meanwhile, took a veiled jibe at the L-G, saying it “won’t belittle anyone” if big decisions are taken in consultation with the elected government. “It will only lead to better-informed decisions and everyone can work together on this,” he added in a tweet.
दिल्ली में चुनी हुई सरकार है, चुने हुए विधायक जानता कि परेशानी समझते है, अगर बड़े फैसले लेते समय चुनी हुई सरकार से सलाह कर ली जाए, तो इसमें कोई छोटा नहीं हो जाएगा।
उससे अच्छे और व्यावहारिक फैसले लिए जा सकते हैं। सभी मिलकर काम कर सकते हैं। https://t.co/gNQhIfWH6M
— Saurabh Bharadwaj (@Saurabh_MLAgk) June 20, 2020
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi had opposed the L-G’s Friday order, stating that it will “discourage people from testing and further spread coronavirus as asymptomatic and mild-symptom patients will resist testing and will not be quarantined”.
The order was also widely criticised as it came at a time when the Delhi government is already grappling with a surge in cases — over 3,000 fresh cases were recorded in the bulletin issued Friday — amid reports of its healthcare structure tottering under pressure.
What did the original order say?
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority, chaired by the Lieutenant Governor, said in an order released late Friday that there will be no home quarantine for Covid-19 patients without physical verification. The order also called for a mandatory “five-day institutional quarantine of each case”.
It added that a patient will be allowed into home quarantine only if there are no further symptoms that require hospitalisation.
Patients in home quarantine, the order said, will be subject to mandatory physical verification by teams of district surveillance officers under the supervision of the district magistrates.
What brought about the order?
Union Home Minister Amit Shah Thursday chaired a review meeting with the authorities of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to chart out a “common anti-Covid-19 strategy” for the National Capital Region.
At the meeting, ThePrint has learnt, the MHA told the Delhi government that they had come across instances where the union territory was found to have “flouted home-quarantine guidelines”.
“It was found that Delhi was not following the home quarantine guidelines properly. In some areas, it was found that Covid-19 patients were in home quarantine in crammed one-room houses and were meeting neighbours, leading to a further spread,” a government official had said.
At the same meeting, the Delhi government was verbally told that the Union government will bar home isolation for all Covid-19 patients in the capital since the guidelines are not being followed properly. On Friday, the Union health ministry also referred to certain states that had been found violating home quarantine guidelines.