Delhi chief minister (CM) Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said that home isolation was an effective option for patients with mild or no symptoms of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).This is in line with a health ministry advisory from the end of April, which had allowed home isolation, but under conditions — a 24x7 caregiver; constant communication between the caregiver and a hospital; and immediate medical help if severe symptoms developed, among others.
The Delhi CM's categorical call for home isolation is welcome. The number of Covid-19 cases is continuing to rise in the Capital, and the peak is, according to medical experts advising the government, yet to arrive. The health care infrastructure is under strain. Anticipating this, the Delhi government has put aside an additional 1,500 Covid-19 beds at a government facility, and asked private hospitals and nursing homes to reserve at least 20% of their total bed strength for Covid-19 patients. Many patients may also be able to cope better emotionally with the disease if allowed to recuperate with their families.
The home isolation plan, however, will only work if there is strict monitoring on the ground, which in itself is not easy given India's weak governance structure, and the State apparatus is busy tackling several other related crises. But it is, most crucially, dependent on the idea of citizens exercising responsibility and care, by being transparent about their health status, reaching out to doctors on time, and following the home isolation protocol in letter and spirit. Do it for yourself, for your families, for the community, and for the city you call home.
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