A day after Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal's decision to make five-day institutional quarantine mandatory for coronavirus-positive patients in the national capital, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy on Saturday indicated that the decision could be reviewed.
Reddy said he is hopeful that Baijal will take into account those households who have the facilities to home quarantine and would thus desist being sent to institutional quarantine as mandated in the new order.
"Delhi L-G might have ordered institutional quarantine for the benefit of those who do not have space in their homes. But I think that he will issue another information by today evening for people who can create an isolated separate room in their homes. I am hopeful he will do this," Reddy told news agency ANI.
Baijal's decision has also been challenged in the Delhi High Court, with petitioner Nancy Roy arguing that the order will discourage people from revealing their coronavirus-positive status and increase the risk of further spread of the infection in the national capital.
"This office order will have disastrous effects for several reasons:
(i) Such compulsory Institutional quarantine is most likely to deter people from getting themselves tested for the fear of being sent to government run quarantine centres;
(ii) More and more beds will be required for these institutional quarantine cases whereas extremely sick patients in dire need of beds may be left unattended and without beds;
(iii) This will overburden isolation centres which are unhygienic and lead to further spread of infection
(iv) Elderly people will be put to hardship both physically and mentally," argued the petitioner.
The petition could be taken up for hearing next week.
As head of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), Baijal on Friday issued orders changing the quarantine protocol for coronavirus-positive patients in the city. Officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the order came after Home Minister Amit Shah told Delhi government officers at a review meeting that one way to control the surging coronavirus cases numbers is to end home isolation since it was not being implemented properly.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in Delhi has vehemently opposed the decision.
AAP MLA Atishi, who has tested positive for the coronavirus and is currently asymptomatic, said, "The Centre's decision of making five-day institutional quarantine compulsory for COVID-19 patients in Delhi is wrong. I am a coronavirus patient and recovering at home. Due to this five-day institutional quarantine, people will now refrain from getting tested."
This decision has been vehemently opposed by @ArvindKejriwal in the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) meeting, as it will lead to further spread of Corona!— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) June 20, 2020
Issue is now at a stalemate. SDMA meeting again at 5pm. Hopefully Central Govt will retract their decision! https://t.co/M6clZyEQFg
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal earlier on Saturday also opposed Baijal's order, asking why a separate rule was employed in case of Delhi.
At a DDMA meeting, Kejriwal said the ICMR has permitted home isolation for asymptomatic and mild symptom Covid-19 patients in the whole country, then why a separate rule was employed in case of Delhi.