Coronavirus: Karnataka mulls doing away with institutional quarantine

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The Karnataka government is actively considering an expert panel’s recommendation to do away with institutional quarantine, reports said.

The committee comprising epidemiologists, virologists and others has recommended the measure due to shortage of beds at quarantine centres and other resource constraints. The state has already halved mandatory institutional quarantine for those coming from other states to seven days.

A News Minute report said that about 73 percent of the 1.1 lakhs beds arranged by the government for the purpose has been occupied. Quoting Heath Department director Omprakash Patil, the report said that though various district administrators have identified additional quarantine facilities, they may not be sufficient as international and inter-state traffic to the state is bound to go up in the coming weeks.

“Considering that people keep coming in and out of quarantine centres, there will be an overlap at some point and there could be a situation where the state government may run out of quarantine centres,” Omprakash was quoted by News Minute as saying.

The state government has already made institutional quarantine mandatory only for passengers coming in from six high-risk states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi in order to avoid overcrowding in quarantine centres.

The government has also urged the Union Civil Aviation Ministry to reduce the number of flights from these states. However, the recommendation to do away with quarantine is considered risky by the health department since it will not be easy for the government to monitor those put under quarantine in the homes.

The deliberation to do away with institutional quarantine comes even as the state witnesses a sharp surge in covid-19 cases as many of those who returned from other states have tested positive in recent days. The state reported as many as 248 fresh cases on Friday (May 29).

Health experts feel that doing away with institutional quarantine could also pose a risk of community spreading. The number of asymptomatic cases account for 96% when it comes to active cases.

The presence of institutional quarantine has not just helped contain the virus from spreading within the community but also allowed the Yediyurappa-led state government to relax more restrictions within Karnataka, especially Bengaluru, when compared to other parts of the country.

Image Credit: News Minute

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