COVID-19: No proper protocol, vehicle shortage hinder implementation of LG order, say officials

New Delhi: Shortage of vehicles and absence of a proper protocol on who will take patients to COVID-19 care centres are some of the stumbling blocks to authorities implementing Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal's order on home isolation, officials said.

In view of the surge in coronavirus cases in the national capital, the LG had on Friday directed a five-day mandatory institutional quarantine for every COVID-19 patient, but the decision was revoked a day later following stiff opposition by the AAP government.

Now, all individuals who test positive will be first examined at COVID-19 care centres to ascertain if they need hospitalisation. It will also be checked if the patients have adequate facilities for home isolation.

A crucial meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, where a detailed discussion on home isolation policy was to be held, could not take place on Monday.

However, during implementation of the order, several issues cropped up.

"We are trying to implement the order but we are facing certain problems since there is no protocol in place on how those who have tested positive for the infection will reach COVID care centres for clinical assessment. Currently, the patients are being sent to the centres in vehicles available with us," a senior official said.

Another official said although they have made arrangements to take patients to COVID-19 centres for assessment, it is difficult to implement the order in view of the rising cases.

A district magistrate said the administration has hired cabs for ferrying COVID-19 patients to care centres.

"There are 465 ambulances engaged by the government. The government needs at least 1,000 ambulances to facilitate the movement of such patients in wake of a spike in coronavirus cases," the DM said.

There are around 12,900 patients under home isolation in the national capital.

However, many are yet to go to the COVID-19 centres for assessment. They also did not have the clarity in who will take them to these facilities.

A media professional, who tested positive on June 19, said he has been in home isolation but was no clarity on who will take him to a COVID-19 care centre.

"Government officials call me daily to inquire about my health but have not mentioned about taking me to a CPVID-19 care centre. I had a high fever and breathing difficulty in the initial two days but now the fever has subsided," he said.

The man, who is in his late 30s, is a resident of Uttam Nagar. He has sent his 10-year-old daughter to his sister's place after he tested positive and his wife has been taking care of him.

"My wife and daughter will be taken for testing by government officials. They have not shown any symptoms till now," he said.

Another coronavirus patient, a resident of Chirag Dilli, received his test report on Sunday. Both he and his wife have tested positive for the viral disease.

"After we tested positive, we got a call that we will be given medicines but we after that we have not received any intimation. I have consulted some of my friends who had tested positive and we are following what they told us. I have fever while my wife does not have fever but has lost her sense of taste and smell. We are taking care of each other," he said.

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