LG Anil Baijal withdraws 5-day institutional quarantine order for Delhi's Covid-19 patients 

Maitri Porecha New Delhi | Updated on June 20, 2020

Civil defense members prepare beds at a makeshift Covid-19 quarantine facility set up in a banquet hall in west Delhi, on Thursday Kamal Narang

Nearly four lakh Covid-19 cases in India, Delhi crosses 50K mark

Delhi's Lieutanant Governor Anil Baijal has withdrawn a controversial five-day mandatory institutional quarantine order for all Covid-19 positive patients, that had been issued on June 19.

As cases surpass 50,000-mark in the national capital of New Delhi, contradictions in State and Union Health Ministry orders on how to handle patients, have been laid bare. Delhi recorded 53,116 Covid-19 cases on June 20, of which up to 23,569 have recovered while another 2,035 have died. 

On June 19, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, MoHFW, in a letter to Chief Secretary of Delhi state government stated that Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms should be isolated at home. He added a caveat that home isolation may lead to spread of disease to family members and neighbours in dense urban agglomerations, but said that there should be strict implementation of guidelines on home isolation at the field-level.


On the other hand, Baijal, who is also the chairperson of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), in an order to all senior state officials, including the Chief Secretary of Delhi and the Chief Minister’s office, said that every case under home isolation will be surveyed, and will be relegated to a five-day institutional quarantine, which will be mandatory, and thereafter will be sent for home isolation, except in cases where the symptoms require further hospitalisation. This decision, the order said, was taken along with the Ministry of Home Affairs after the review of the situation. 

Delhi govt's dilemma

The dilemma that stared in the face of Delhi government in light of DDMA orders, was to create additional capacity to accommodate 10,490 persons in home isolation currently, even as new cases spiked.

While Delhi’s private hospitals are full, government hospitals are working at over 50 per cent of it’s capacity at the moment. Of 10,961 beds in hospitals, 5,883 are occupied, according to latest data. There are 5,974 beds in Covid care centres, where patients with mild symptoms are admitted, of which 1,143 beds are already occupied. Another 344 beds in Covid health centres are available, of which 139 are already occupied.

In a bid to ramp up Intensive Care Unit infrastructure in Delhi after medical directors of major hospitals submitted that availability of ICU manpower is scarce, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in an order, stated that there should be immediate deployment of all final year MD/MS/DNB graduate doctors in various post-graduate medical institutions of Delhi, as well as nursing students, to engaged for a period of six months in Delhi government’s COVID hospitals. 

As on June 20, India, which has nearly 4 lakh Covid-19 cases, is only next to the US, which has recorded nearly 21.5 lakh cases and Russia, which has recorded close to 5.7 lakh cases, in terms of absolute Covid case numbers. 

Of 3,95,048 cases reported in India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has stated that more than half, 2,13,831 (up to 54 per cent) have recovered from the virus, while another 12,948 have died.

Published on June 20, 2020

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