The state of Karnataka has been continuously faltering when it comes to handling coronavirus cases. To start with, an order gets issued saying mandatory quarantine for all by the Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare, and then upon violation of the order by Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, the department changes the order.
The state does not co-operate with the Central Government Directives and quarantines frontline health-workers, social workers who support the Government of India, Niti aayog and provide support through inter-state missions and programmes.
On one hand CEO, Niti Aayog calls NGOs to support Governments, on other hand state governments like Karnataka do not understand how to facilitate frontline workers who aid governments.
Additionally, Karnataka state wants a COVID-19 negative certificate from people entering the state through ICMR certified labs, but does not issue such certificate to those leaving the state. Testing numbers in Karnataka have been abysmally low and quarantine surveillance an idea gone astray when even compared to other southern states.
Now a recent directive issued by the Additional Health Secretary on 27th May, 2020 forces people into institutional quarantine for 7 days and then home quarantine for 7 days. Absurd as this policy is after people having spent over 2 months in lockdown, the state further wishes to quarantine people in a nexus to support hotels and promote business in the middle of a pandemic at the cost of people.
Recently, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri had stated that once passengers are having the aarogya setu app, there is no reason to quarantine, but the state officials do not seem to understand the same. Many of those entering the state are COVID-19 negative and much of the effort is wasted in testing them. A more meaningful and mature approach is to send them for home quarantine for about 10 days.
A recent study from Singapore suggested that patients who are positive for COVID-19 are not infectious after 11 days. Additionally, a sizeable chunk of patients are asymptomatic which is a huge number in India. Given the background of asymptomatic patients’ quarantine is a failed approach and lockdown even worse.
It is in the interest of the people of the state and informed citizenry to remove this 7 day institutional quarantine gimmick being attempted by the Government of Karnataka and moved to at least a 10 day full home quarantine only.