As the number of Covid-19 cases surges in the capital, residents have urged the Delhi government to provide paid isolation facilities to asymptomatic patients who do not wish to stay at home.
Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) say those who have elderly or persons with serious medical conditions at home would prefer to stay at a paid isolation facility to protect their family from the risk of contracting the infection.
In the past one month, the number of Covid patients placed in home isolation has doubled—from 13,436 to 26,533 between October 17 and November 16.
On Tuesday, Delhi recorded 6396 new Covid-19 cases, taking the count to 495,598, the government’s health bulletin said.
Asymptomatic patients are allowed to stay in home isolation or can opt for government-run Covid Care Centres. There is no paid isolation facility at present, unlike during the early stages of the outbreak when the government converted hotels into paid Covid wards.
RWAs say the government should provide at least one paid facility in each district.
Atul Goyal, president of United RWAs Joint Action (URJA), a collective of RWAs in Delhi, said, “People have to share toilets and space at government-run facilities. Those who can pay should have an option of moving into a paid facility. In each district, the government should create one such facility. They don’t have to do much; they already have a system in place. They just have to revive it.”
Senior government officials say a Covid positive patient is allowed home isolation only if they meet the criteria such as a separate room and bathroom, no comorbidities, mild Covid symptoms, etc.
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But residents say those who have elderly patients, children, patients with serious medical conditions at home and can afford, might prefer to stay at a paid isolation facility even if they have a separate room and bathroom.
Rejimon CK, founder of Dwarka forum, said, “Many wouldn’t like to risk their family members and prefer to stay separately while they get cured. If you have a Covid patient at home, the workload on the caregiver at home increases, especially if you have elderly or children or family members with serious medical conditions. Even if we have space, many of us would prefer to stay in a paid facility. The government should at least provide this option to those who are willing to pay.”
Earlier this year, the Delhi government had attached hotels with hospitals where Covid patients, who were not in a serious condition, could pay and stay.
Rajiv Kakria, convenor, Save Our City Campaign, said, “The government can attach some hotels with hospitals to provide this facility. Hotels in commercial areas, state bhavans, etc., should be used for this purpose. But guest houses in residential areas shouldn’t be used for this as it will pose a problem for residents. Covid cases are on a rise and there is a need to step up our facilities.”
The number of patients in home isolation is steadily increasing. Since November 1, nearly 6,000 patients have been placed in home isolation.
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Dr Jugal Kishore, head of community medicine at Safdarjung Hospital said, “It will be good if a paid facility is provided to Covid patients who don’t want to stay at home due to personal reasons. But the paid facility should be managed by a team of doctors. Patients at a paid isolation facility should have access to medical care. Several RWAs had created isolation facilities in their locality earlier this year. It will be good if that facility is revived.”
Asked if the government was thinking about providing paid facilities again, a senior Delhi government official with the revenue department, requesting anonymity, said, “There is no such plan at the moment. If people don’t want to stay in home isolation, they can stay at the government-run Covid care facilities. We had attached hotels with hospitals when such a facility was provided earlier. But now hotels have been allowed to operate. This kind of an arrangement is not possible at the moment.”
The Delhi government did not respond to requests for a comment.