IN A proposal aimed at addressing complaints about quarantine facilities and kickstarting the hospitality sector, one of the Centre’s empowered groups on COVID-19 has recommended that hotels be used to quarantine asymptomatic or mild cases.
The Health Ministry, meanwhile, has notified new guidelines to let patients, who have been medically assessed as “very mild case/pre-symptomatic case by the treating medical officer”, undergo home quarantine.
In the hotel proposal, which was sent on April 15, the empowered group on hospitals, isolation beds, quarantine facilities, etc., has urged the Ministry to lay down SOPs and start the process of certification of hotels that can be used as COVID facilities.
The idea, officials say, is that patients pay for the rooms and other expenses, such as food, while hotels follow laid-down SOPs, including having a doctor on call and nurses in charge of rooms.
“There have been multiple complaints about the quality of quarantine facilities, especially toilets… For the hotels, it makes sense to abide by the SOPs and conditions for certification because they will get business. These quarantine facilities can have single-occupancy rooms with attached toilets. They will supplement government facilities,” said an official.
This model is essentially an extension of home quarantine, except that in hotels the risk of exposure is even less for others. “Patients are at the centre of all that we are planning so we need to have options that take their concerns into account, too,” the official said.
In its guidelines for mild and pre-symptomatic cases, the Health Ministry said: “Such cases should have the requisite facility at their residence for self-isolation and also for quarantining the family contacts. A care giver should be available to provide care on 24 x 7 basis. A communication link between the caregiver and hospital is a prerequisite for the entire duration of home isolation. The care giver and all close contacts of such cases should take Hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis as per protocol and as prescribed by the treating medical officer.”
The guidelines also state that the caregiver has to mandatorily download the Arogya Setu app. “The person also has to give a written undertaking and seek medical attention when s/he faces difficulty in breathing, persistent pain/pressure in the chest, mental confusion or inability to arouse, developing bluish discolorations of lips/face, etc,” it states.