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L-G withdraws 5-day mandatory institutional quarantine order

New Delhi: After a late-night order from the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor's office on Friday drastically changing quarantine guidelines for COVID-19 patients under home isolation left the city scrambling for clarity, Anil Baijal on Saturday tweeted that the order had essentially been revoked and clarified that the mandatory 5-day institutional quarantine would only apply to Coronavirus patients who do not need hospitalisation and do not have adequate facilities to safely isolate themselves at home.

While the order came as a massive jolt to the 10,500 patients who are currently under home isolation, the matter was resolved after two back-to-back meetings of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority where the Delhi government made it clear that the changed quarantine rules would not be feasible in terms of healthcare infrastructure.

The first meeting on Saturday at 12 pm had ended in a deadlock, following which another meeting at 5 pm resulted in clarity, after which the L-G's office clarified its position. After the order was withdrawn, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia thanked the L-G for considering the Delhi government's request to reconsider it.

"The reservations of L-G over home isolation were resolved in the SDMA meeting and the home isolation system will continue. We thank L-G for this. Under the leadership of our Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, we will not let Delhi people have any inconvenience," Sisodia tweeted.

On Friday night, the L-G had invoked his powers as the ex-officio Chairperson of the DDMA to order the mandatory institutional quarantine of all COVID-19 patients in the Capital. The decision came on the heels of recommendations made by the Home Ministry which had cited the lack of physical verification of home isolation patients as a possible reason for the unabated spread of the virus here.

The Delhi government had raised poignant issues with the order, called it arbitrary and said that it would significantly discourage people from getting tested for the contagious disease. It also said that Delhi's healthcare infrastructure was already stretched and that this move would only "harm Delhi".

In fact, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also questioned why the Centre was comfortable asking other states to "enforce home isolation guidelines" but recommended an upheaval of the same in the Capital.

Meanwhile, the Centre has asked states to ensure implementation of its guidelines on home isolation at the field level "in letter and spirit" to effectively contain the spread of the pandemic, after taking note of instances of laxity.

According to the Union Health ministry, the revised guidelines for home isolation that was issued on May 10 would continue to be effective as on date.

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