New advisory for COVID-19 positive patients
Discharge after 10 days line
The new advisory issued by the State Health Department in the face of the rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 positive cases and the resultant deaths is interesting and is bound to raise eye brows from certain sections of the people. What in particular makes the new advisory all that more interesting is the line, ‘Asymptomatic COVID-19 positive cases admitted to Covid Care Centres will be discharged 10 days after testing positive and there will be no need for testing prior to discharge.’ Manipur is not the only State to have come out with such an advisory and to be sure this must be in line with what the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) have had to say and one may safely presume that this is what doctors around the world have recommended. The only question is why the public have not been sensitised enough on this point earlier, instead of coming out with a totally new advisory which can trigger apprehensions in the minds of the people. This is important for remember Manipur is a closely knit society and no family lives in complete isolation cut off from the neighbours. COVID-19 being a highly contagious disease, the question is, how well will such an advisory go down with the neighbours ? Health workers being discriminated, forcing even parents and elders of the family to advise their children and wards working as frontline workers to stay put at their place of work and not come back home, for fear that the localities might object, are stories which The Sangai Express had carried earlier. How much have the people been sensitised that allowing asymptomatic patients to return home without a second test is very much in line with what the doctors across the world have prescribed ? A question worth pondering.
The discharge sans a final test to find out the status of the asymptomatic patients is also a reflection of how Covid Care Centres and how front line health workers are being stretched to the limit. It is also indicative of the need for the people to take their own responsibilities and come to the realisation that fighting the virus that causes COVID-19 is the responsibility of everyone and not solely that of the Government. It is also indicative that now it takes not more than 10 days for an asymptomatic Covid patient to start developing symptoms and if after ten days there are no symptoms then it is safe to let the patient return home. This however does not say anything on whether the discharged asymptomatic patient is fully free of the virus and whether he or she can still infect others. This is another point that has not been spelt out succinctly. Obviously Manipur will not be the only State to adopt such a line. As early as June 21 this year, the Government of Karnataka had ruled that an asymptomatic patient can return home after ten days if he or she has not developed any symptoms but at the same time advised that the patient should remain in home quarantine for 14 days. In other words, a patient whose swab was taken on September 1 and tested positive can be discharged after 10 days, that is on September 11, provided he or she is free from any symptom and that too without taking a second test. Such an advisory must have come after exhaustive medical studies, but the important question is why have the people not been sensitised on this earlier.