Coronavirus | What Does it Mean to be Under Quarantine?

Many suspected cases around the country are under quarantine.

3 min read
 Indian authorities are stepping up their preparedness to prevent the spreading of the contagious virus.

With confirmed Coronavirus cases in Delhi and Telangana, and all those who came in contact with the patients being tested and asked to self quarantine, we explain what it means to be in 'isolation.'

Delhi's prominent hospitals - Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, along with AIIMS - and hospitals across major cities have all set up isolation wards to quarantine suspected cases of coronavirus.

Ministry of Civil Aviation has identified 21 airports were screening of passengers is underway.

Airports already have a public health emergency contingency plan in place. This kicks in once the World Health Organisation declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern or in cases where a global epidemic is likely. Some of the points are:

  • Airport staff coming in contact with passengers prior to screening will need to wear face masks and take prophylaxis (preventative healthcare)
  • During the time of health examination, the staff must wear N92/N95 masks or three layer masks-
  • In case of the coronavirus 2019, where India has issued a travel advisory asking visitors to not visit China unless necessary, there have also been entry thermal screenings.
  • Airports like Delhi, Mumbai, etc. have health counters which are located before Immigration and the passengers are required to report to it. They also need to present the health card (asking questions pertaining to the disease or travel to affected country) to the doctor and undergo thermal screening.
  • Only by passing through the thermal screening can they be cleared for immigration.
  • If, for some reason, the passenger is suspected to be a patient, then the passenger is examined in detail by the APHO doctor (Airport Health Organisation)
  • First, the suspected patient is sent to the isolation chamber, which is located adjacent to the immigration/ Health counters.
  • If found to be suffering from the disease/ exhibiting symptoms, they are referred to a quarantine hospital.

The patients are transferred to isolation facilities in special ambulances that have also been quarantined.

Isolation Wards At Hospitals

Isolation wards have been set up at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi.

FIT Explains What It Means to be in Isolation

First things first, isolation wards don't mean jails or solitary confinement. It's a space created within a hospital/airport to ensure that infection does not pass down to the other person or the health care worker assisting the patient.

Checklist of an Isolation Ward

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, here's a brief checklist of what an isolation ward at a hospital is supposed to look like

  • A container to collect infectious waste, which eventually, is burned
  • Adequate supplies with a 1:10 bleach solution to disinfect patient excreta
  • A plastic sheet to cover the mattress on which the patient sleeps
  • A 'puncture-resistant container' for collecting non usable needles and syringes used on the patient

Important Pointers to Remember for Healthcare Workers

Thoroughly wash hands after touching the bodily fluids of the patient, even though gloves have been worn.

Wear a mask (three layered surgical mask / N 95respirator) and a gown to prevent the spreading of infection while doing patient care.

Limit the movement of the patient as much as possible, and make them wear a mask if they step out of the designated area.

Have an alcohol-based disinfectant near the patient's room.

Post signs outside the room that clearly earmark it as an isolation facility.

Restrict equipment like stethoscopes, thermometer and blood pressure cuff to the infected patient.

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