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GUWAHATI: The Assam health department is not keen on keeping asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in home isolation despite the Union home ministry’s revised guidelines allowing such patients the option.
State health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, while addressing reporters here on Sunday, categorically ruled out home isolation for asymptomatic patients on the ground that residents of colonies or apartments would have their reservations against a COVID-19 patient staying in the same colony or apartment.
“Assam cannot allow home isolation for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients as the residents of colonies and apartments will raise a hue and cry. But of course, if the apartment committees give us a written undertaking that they have no objection if such patients stay isolated in their apartment or colony, then we have no issue,” Sarma said.
The minister recalled instances when cautious residents of apartments had requested the department for sanitisation of their premises and intimated about occupants suspected to have COVID symptoms.
Sarma also ruled out home quarantine as the only option because of the possibility of spreading the virus among people living in apartments.
“Not all apartments have separate toilets, which is essential for people in home quarantine. Moreover, we do not have so much manpower to be able to cater to people in home quarantine if there was a need to administer oxygen,” he said.
Meanwhile, Assam has started administering the administering the anti-viral drug, Remdesivir on critical COVID-19 patients. “So far, we have administered the antiviral drug on four patients. We believe that the medicine will work on critical patients and keep them off ventilation,” Sarma said.
GMCH ICU visit
During the media conference, the minister also showed a video clip of his visit, attired in personal protective equipment, to the COVID-19 intensive care unit of Guwahati Medical College and Hospital on Saturday evening.
“I had met COVID patients in the ICU of GMCH along with a team of doctors and saw how hard our frontline teams are working to treat and take care of the patients. At the same time, I am disappointed with one or two media reports misleading readers and also undermining the disease and its treatment at a time when there is a pandemic situation in the city,” Sarma said.