Quarantine & Isolation

Isolation and Quarantine help the public to protect themselves from exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease. Isolation and Quarantine both differ from each other to some extent.

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from healthy people. It is usually voluntary but in a public health emergency, officials have the authority to isolate people who are sick.
  • Quarantine is for people who are not sick but may have been exposed. It separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Isolation

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued revised guidelines for the home isolation of very mild/pre-symptomatic/asymptomatic COVID-19 cases.

Who can be isolated in the home

  • One who is clinically assigned as a very mild/presymptomatic/asymptomatic case by treating medical officer.
  • Those who are suffering from immunocompromised status such as HIV, cancer therapy, transplant recipients, etc. are not eligible for home isolation.
  • People above the age of 60 years and those suffering from hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung, liver, kidney disease, cerebrovascular disease, etc. shall be allowed for home isolation only after proper evaluation by the treating medical officer.
  • The patient will fill in an undertaking on self-isolation and should follow home quarantine guidelines. The treating doctor should satisfy himself before allowing home isolation.

When to seek medical attention 

Immediate medical attention must be given if these signs or symptoms develop in the patient:-

  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Dip in oxygen saturation.
  • Persistent pain/ pressure in the chest.
  • Slurred speech/ seizures.
  • Weakness or numbness in any Limb or face.
  • Developing bluish discoloration of lips/face.

Guidelines for the patient

  • Patients should use a triple-layer medical mask at all times and discard the mask after 8 hours of use or earlier if they become wet or visibly soiled.
  • The patient must take rest and consume lots of fluids to maintain sufficient hydration.
  • The patient shouldn’t share personal items with other people.
  • Clean surfaces in the room that are touched often (tabletops, doorknobs, handles, etc.) with a 1% hypochlorite solution.
  • Patients must stay in the identified rooms and away from other people at home, especially elderlies and those with co-morbid conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, etc.
  • The patient shall self-monitor his/her health with daily temperature monitoring and report promptly.

Guidelines for family members of isolated patients and care-givers

  • The caregiver should wear a triple layer medical mask appropriately when in the same room with the ill person.
  • Hand hygiene must be ensured following contact with the affected person or his immediate environment.
  • Hand hygiene should also be practiced before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet, and whenever needed.
  • Avoid direct contact with the body fluids of the patient, particularly oral or respiratory secretions. Use disposable gloves while handling the patient.
  • Utensils and dishes used by the patient should be cleaned with soap/detergent and water wearing gloves. The utensils and dishes can be re-used. Clean hands after taking off gloves or handling used items.

When to discontinue home isolation

Patients under home isolation will be discharged after 10 days of identifying symptoms and no fever for 3 days. Thereafter, the patient will be advised to isolate at home and self-monitor their health for a further 7 days. There is no need for testing after the home isolation period is over.

For the full text of the guidelines, please click here.

Quarantine

Who Should Be Under Quarantine?

People who fall under any of the following criteria should be under quarantine for 14 days.

  • A person who lives in the same house as a COVID case.
  • A person who had direct physical contact with the COVID-19 case.
  • A person who was in close or face to face contact with the COVID-19 case at a distance of within 1 meter including the air travel.

Guidelines For Home Quarantine

The home quarantined person should

  • Stay in a single room, if possible use a separate bathroom. If your family member wants to stay in the same room, then maintain a distance of at least 1 meter between the two.
  • Stay away from children, older people, pregnant women, and people with existing medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, etc.
  • Limit your contact with pets and animals.
  • Avoid sharing dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using them, wash these items thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Wash your hands several times with soap and water or alcohol-based home sanitizers.
  • Wear a surgical mask every time and change it every 6 to 8 hours. It should also be disposed of immediately.

Guidelines For Family Members Of Persons Being Home Quarantined

  • Only one assigned family member should be taking care of the infected person and no visitors are allowed.
  • Avoid direct contact with the infected person.
  • Always wear disposable face masks and gloves when feeding or giving medicines to the infected person.
  • Keep the surroundings clean by disinfecting the touched surfaces of a quarantined person. These should include toilets, clothes, tables, bed frames, and utensils.

In case of any symptoms, call the State Helpline Number or call 1075 or 011-23978046.

Advisory For Quarantine Of Migrant Workers

The following is a summary of MoHFW advisory for quarantine of migrant workers; for the full text of the guidelines see here.

The migrant workers would remain at their regular place of work/local residence within the city. As some of the migrant workers have already moved in groups and either reached their destination or are on their way, the following health actions would be taken based on the locations where the migrant workers are currently located.

Health Actions For Migrant Workers Who Are Still In The Cities Of Their Local Residences

Wherever a congregation of migrant workers has formed in bus stations/railway stations or any other place within the city of their local residence, the following actions would be taken:

  • Personal details such as name, mobile number, residential and permanent addresses will be recorded.
  • Thermal screening would be done for all such persons by a team which will include a public health personnel.
  • Persons found to be suffering from fever will be interviewed for other symptoms of COVID-19 and their contact history.
  • All persons who qualify the criteria will be referred to a designated hospital and isolated and tested for COVID-19.
  • Asymptomatic persons will undergo risk profiling.
  • Persons above 60 years of age or having comorbidities will be shifted to a quarantine facility whereas others will undergo home quarantine.

Health Actions For Migrant Workers Who Are On Their Way And Are Yet To Reach Their Destination

  • If there are no established quarantine centers in the nearby areas, a quarantine center will be established that would conform to the norms which are already communicated to the State Governments.
  • In the quarantine facility, health actions such as collecting personal details and thermal screening of all persons will be taken.
  • Persons found to be suffering from fever will be interviewed for other symptoms of COVID-19 and their contact history.
  • All persons who qualify the criteria will be referred to a designated hospital and isolated and tested for COVID-19.
  • Clean beddings and fresh linen will be provided to the quarantined persons and awareness materials will be displayed at multiple prominent locations of the quarantine facility.
  • All quarantined persons will undergo daily medical examination for appearance of symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.

Health Actions For Migrant Workers Who Reached Their Destination

Migrant workers who have reached their destination will be identified by the district administration and the Integrated District Surveillance Program will follow them up at their residence.

  • All migrant workers who have reached their destination will be contacted by IDSP teams and interviewed for place of local residence.
  • Persons found to be suffering from fever will be interviewed for other symptoms of COVID-19 and their contact history.
  • All persons who qualify the criteria will be referred to a designated hospital and isolated and tested for COVID-19.
  • Asymptomatic persons will undergo risk profiling.
  • Persons above 60 years of age or having comorbidities will be shifted to a quarantine facility whereas others will undergo home quarantine.

IDSP will monitor all the persons who are under home/facility quarantine.