TODAY -

Review home isolation rules or punish violators
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: December 30, 2021 -



EVEN if home isolation is considered an effective option for patients with mild or no symptoms of the coronavirus disease and experts recommend the same, it needs no reminding that success of such a policy will not only depend on having the basic needs under the same roof or room but also responsible conduct of the infected persons.

As had been frequently commented through this column, for families living in multi-storey buildings, the infected persons adhering to the home isolation guidelines wouldn't be an issue.

However, expecting the same from patients of ordinary families or those individuals bereft of the resolve and spirit to be a part of the corona warrior would be nothing less than a wishful thinking.

Such a notion is not presumptuous as had been demonstrated by the Tanzania-returnee state native, who was found to have flouted the home isolation protocols, created anxiety among the masses and unnecessarily compounded task of the healthcare workers, who have been tackling the contagion for nearly two years.

If at all the state sees upsurge in Covid-19 cases, then it is obvious that the 48-year man from Patsoi assembly constituency, who became the first O'micron case in the northeast, would be held accountable by many for undermining the home isolation guidelines.

The disturbing aspect of the individual in question is that he not only exhibited both arrogance and ignorance but also visited different places, friends and institutions before completion of the mandatory self-quarantine period as if there will be no tomorrow.

On perusal of the official surveillance report, it is crystal clear that the man's movement and activities were all avoidable, and as such there is no reason why he should not be branded as an irresponsible citizen.

Interestingly, around a fortnight back, the health department announced enforcement of new standard operating procedures to specifically deal with the new variant subsequent to reports about its tenacity to spread at an alarming speed.

Among others, the new SOPs made it mandatory for passengers arriving from countries where Omicron cases have been reported, to produce-14 days' travel history and possess RTPCR negative result taken within 72 hours and conduct of RT-PCR test right after a passenger lands at the airport, stay put at the airport till confirmation of the results, and if found positive hospitalisation and the sample sent for genome sequencing.

While such measures appeared impressive enough to check import of the highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus, the Tanzania-returnee has laid bare the fact these protocols were neither applied by the authorities concerned nor the safety protocols followed by himself.

On paper, there seems to be nothing wrong with the home isolation policy as the same has been recommended by the health ministry since the virulent second wave of the pandemic, allowing home isolation under the conditions that there shall be a 24x7 caregiver, constant communication between the caregiver and a hospital, and immediate medical help if severe symptoms developed, among others.

However, the devil-may-care attitude of the Tanzania-returnee has rung out the message that home isolation policy will only work if there is strict monitoring on the ground and individuals under surveillance act maturely.

It is also possible that the policy might be effective if the violators are subjected to heftier penalties as per the law of the land. NEWS:



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