New Delhi, March 26: India is at a very crucial stage in its fight against the transmission of coronavirus or COVID-19 at community level. In a bid to control the spread of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 announced a 21-day lockdown asserting that social distancing is the only possible way for the country in its battle against the deadly disease. The government has appealed that those who are in home and facility quarantine should observe the order according to the protocol.

The Health Ministry of India has laid down guidelines that need to be followed by the person asked to be in 'home quarantine' and also the family members of the people in home quarantine. A suspect of novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) will witness rapid isolation. Home quarantine is applicable to all such contacts of a suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19. As per guidelines, home quarantine shall be imposed on those people also who have been in contact with an infected person or in an infected environment. Basically, a person is home quarantined because the individual is at a higher risk of developing the disease. Coronavirus Outbreak: Violation of Self-Quarantine Guidelines May Land You in Jail For Six Months.

Duration of Home Quarantine

The home quarantine period is for 14 days from contact with a confirmed case or earlier if a suspect case (of whom the index person is a contact) turns out negative on laboratory testing. People who are taking refuge at home should stay in a good well-ventilated single-room preferably with an attached or a separate toilet.

Anyone Violating Home Quarantine Order to be Punished

The government has made it clear that  anyone in home quarantine over suspicion of novel coronavirus infection, if found violating the rule, will be punished under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. This Act is now enforced in India in the wake the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 lays down punishment as per Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, for violating such orders. As per Section 3 of the Act, any person who violates the regulations, will attract penalties or order made under the Act that is simple imprisonment for 6 months or fine of Rs 1000 or both.

Home Quarantine May Reduce COVID-19 Transmission Risk by 62%: ICMR

A study done by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has revealed that home quarantine and maintaining social distancing of symptomatic can reduce the transmission of the disease. The study was done by using a simple mathematical model of infectious disease transmission. The findings pointed out that home quarantine of symptomatic can reduce the overall expected number of cases by 62 per cent and the peak number of cases by 89 per cent. 

Take a Look at Instructions for Contacts Being Home Quarantined

The person who is home quarantined person should follow the following:

  1. Stay in a well-ventilated single-room preferably with an attached/separate toilet.
  2. If another family member needs to stay in the same room, it’s advisable to maintain a distance of at least 1 meter between the two.
  3. Needs to stay away from elderly people, pregnant women, children and persons with co-morbidities within the household.
  4. Restrict his/her movement within the house.
  5. Under no circumstances attend any social/religious gathering e.g. wedding, condolences, etc.

A person on home quarantine should also follow these public health measures at times:

  1. Wash hand as often thoroughly with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  2. Avoid sharing household items e.g. dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with other people at home.
  3. Wear a surgical mask at all the time. The mask should be changed every 6-8 hours and disposed off. Disposable masks are never to be reused.
  4. Masks used by patients / care givers/ close contacts during home care should be disinfected using ordinary bleach solution (5%) or sodium hypochlorite solution (1%) and then disposed of either by burning or deep burial.
  5. Used mask should be considered as potentially infected.
  6. If symptoms appear (cough/fever/difficulty in breathing),  he/she should immediately inform the nearest health centre or call 011-23978046

Family Members of Persons Being Home Quarantined Should do the Following:

  1. Only an assigned family member should be tasked with taking care of the such person
  2. Avoid shaking the soiled linen or direct contact with skin
  3. Use disposable gloves when cleaning the surfaces or handling soiled linen •
  4. Wash hands after removing gloves
  5. Visitors should not be allowed.
  6. In case the person being quarantined becomes symptomatic, all his close contacts will be home quarantined (for 14 days) and followed up for an additional 14 days or till the report of such case turns out negative on lab testing

In his second address to the nation, the Prime Minister made a fervent appeal to the countrymen not stay indoors during the next three weeks. He said the lockdown is being imposed on every state, union territory, district, village, mohalla and street. The Prime Minister added that the lockdown will be like "curfew" and more stringent than the 'Janata curfew', which the country had observed on Sunday.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 26, 2020 05:02 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website