No quarantine facility in Ghaziabad, 565 still in home quarantine, triggering fears of community spreadUpdated: Mar 24, 2020 23:01 IST
With the number of Covid-19 cases increasing by the day, the district health department has a list of about 565 persons, mostly those having a travel history, in home quarantine. The officials said it is the need of the hour that anyone coming from foreign countries be quarantined in a separate facility and not at home in order to check the community transmission of Covid-19.
Ghaziabad, so far, has had only three confirmed cases of coronavirus. While two of them have been discharged after treatment, a third person had tested positive Monday.
The city is yet to get fully operational quarantine facility for persons having a travel history to foreign countries or even for health personnel who are actively involved in the treatment and care of confirmed and suspected cases.
“At present, 565 persons in the district are in home quarantine and they are in touch with our teams as well as the 21 officials who have been designated as magistrates. But monitoring theses people round the clock is not possible. It is our fear that these persons may come in contact with their family members or neighbours,” Dr NK Gupta, chief medical officer, said.
Social activists and public representatives said the quarantine facility should have come up by the end of February itself.
“This is complete laxity on the part of officials that quarantine facilities are still not operational. By putting a person in home quarantine, there are more chances of there being a community spread of the disease. There have been a number of instances wherein neighbours have complained that those returning after foreign travel are walking around freely in their neighbourhoods. In one such case, a man and his granddaughter were found walking around in Raj Nagar and we had to inform the district magistrate,” Rajendra Tyagi, councillor, Raj Nagar, said.
“What is the guarantee that these people will stay isolated at home i no one is watching them round the clock?” he said.
Officials are now pasting A4-size stickers on the main doors of houses that have persons in quarantine.
“we have started pasting these stickers and all magistrates are ensuring that these are pasted at the earliest so that neighbours and residents of a particular locality are aware of it. Once a person has completed the quarantine, another stickers will be pasted so that people know of this,” Asmita Lal, chief development officer (CDO), said.
For the separate quarantine facility, officials said they have identified about five-six hostels of private colleges which can be used for quarantining persons immediately.
“The hostels have been sanitized and we are ready. Each of the hostels has beds ranging from 100-200. We can start with quarantining those who arrive from foreign countries. Likewise, we also have options for a quarantine facility (at Dasna) for health care members who deal with patients in the isolation ward,” CDO said.
At present, the district health department has a total of 42 beds reserved in different isolation wards for Covid-19 positive or suspected cases.
The district health department has stopped all other treatments at the Dasna community health centre and kept all 30 beds in the isolation ward.
“We can increase the beds by 10 more. The major worry is the medical staff who need quarantine facility. Otherwise, they may pass on the infection to those in their homes or anyone they come in contact with during their commute,” Dr Gupta added.
District magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey did not respond to calls for his response on the issue.