(Image source from: indianexpress.com)
With one of the biggest repatriation process already underway, it looks like the state and central government of India are not on the same page concerning the quarantine process for the rescued NRIs.
The repatriation process has initiated from May 07 and with the disagreement that both these governments have been showcasing, it is likely going to end up causing a dispute with the process.
The Kerala government has clearly mentioned that the NRIs returning from outside will mandatorily have to stay in the state-run quarantine facility for 7 days irrespective of their Covid-19 infection status.
On the other hand, a standard operating procedure (SOP) that has been released by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs reported that the returnees will have to give an undertaking clarifying that they are willing to undergo the institutional quarantine for a minimum of 2 weeks on their own expenses.
They have also been asked to submit the results of the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test that they have to undergo. This should be submitted to the Indian missions where they have particularly registered themselves.
Rules for the symptomatic cases
According to the SOP, the symptomatic patients will be immediately transferred to a medical facility and the remaining asymptomatic or the healthy individuals will be kept in quarantine facilities that are going to be arranged by the State government.
If the individuals test negative for Covid-19, they will be free to go home otherwise they’ll be shifted to the medical facilities as per the requirements.
Even if they are free to go home, the individuals will be under strict guidance of self monitoring for the next 14 days as well.
On the contrary, the State Government has issues rules suggesting that the RT-PCR test will be conducted on them in 7 days after their arrival. The ones who test positive for the test will be immediately hospitalised while the individuals who test negative will be allowed to go home.
They will be advised with home quarantine for another week as a mode of precaution.
The health authorities have reported that the containment program of the State will have to be changed against the backdrop of the decision made by the Union Ministry.
The authorities are planning to follow the same protocol for all the returnees from 10 other states which have been classified as the intense disease transmission zones and the ones coming around from the sea ports.
“It may take at least 6 to 7 days or more for the virus to show up in the lab test. Around 30% to 40 % of people who test negative within seven days may test positive subsequently,” reported a senior official.
It is also likely that a small section of the returnees might take more time to test positive for Covid-19.
When questioned about the decisions, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the 7-days quarantine and containment program was decided based on the expert suggestions.
By Somapika Dutta