The Punjab Government has issued advisory regarding the home quarantine of the returnees from within the country in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Giving details here today, a spokesperson informed that Corona virus Disease 2019 (COVID -19) is a systemic disease caused by a novel Corona virus, transmitted in most instances through respiratory droplets, direct contact with cases and also through contaminated surfaces/objects. Since the virus is contagious, it is essential that all contacts of virus are quarantined and medically follow-up.
It is pertinent to mention that a contact is defined as an otherwise healthy person who has been in association with an infected person or a contaminated environment, either knowingly or unknowingly as to have himself/herself exposed to the Corona virus and is therefore at a higher risk of developing the disease. A contact in the context of COVID-19 is, a person living in the same household as a COVID-19 case, a person having had direct physical contact with a COVID-19 case or his/her infectious secretions without recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) or with a possible breach of PPE, a person who was in a closed environment or had face to face contact with a COVID-19 case at a distance of within 1 meter including air travel and the contact may have occurred at anytime within a 14 day period before the onset of illness in the case under consideration.
As per the advisory, detection of a travel related/unrelated suspect case of novel Corona virus Disease (COVID-19) should be followed by rapid isolation of such cases in designated health facilities and line listing of all contacts of such cases. Home quarantine is applicable to all such contacts of a suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19. It has been decided to home quarantine for 14 days for: (i) “all asymptomatic returnees” and, (ii) “symptomatic persons those who test negative” along-with regular follow-ups by the health teams. They are required to give an undertaking and strictly follow the guidelines for home quarantine.
The spokesperson said that some instructions should be meticulously followed by persons returning back to the state either from within the country or abroad so as to prevent the transmission of the disease:
- Stay in a well-ventilated single-room preferably with an attached/separate toilet. If another family member needs to stay in the same room, it’s advisable to maintain a distance of at least 1 meter between the two.
- Needs to stay away from elderly people, pregnant women, children and persons with co- morbidities within the household. Restrict his/her movement within the house. Under no circumstances attend any social/religious gathering e.g. wedding, condolences, etc.
He/She should also follow the under mentioned public health measures at all times:
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently.
- Do not share household items e.g. dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, or other items with other people at home.
- Wear a surgical mask at all the time. The mask should be changed every 6-8 hours and disposed off in the manner prescribed. Disposable masks are never to be reused.
- Masks used by patients/care givers/close contacts during home care should be disinfected using ordinary bleach solution (5%) or sodium hypochlorite solution (1%) and then disposed of either by burning or deep burial.
- Used mask should be considered as potentially infected.
- If symptoms appear (cough/fever/difficulty in breathing), he/she should immediately inform the nearest health centre or call Helpline No. 104/State Control Room No. 01722920074 / 08872090029.
Instructions for the family members of persons being home quarantined
- Only an assigned family member, who is healthy and is not suffering from any other disease, should be tasked with taking care of such person.
- Avoid shaking the soiled linen or direct contact with skin of the quarantined person.
- Use disposable gloves when cleaning the surfaces or handling soiled linen of the quarantined person.
- Wash hands after removing the gloves.
- Visitors should not be allowed.
- In case the person being quarantined becomes symptomatic, all his close contacts will be home quarantined (for 14 days) and followed up for an additional 14 days or till the report of such case turns out negative on lab testing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in the quarantined person’s room (e.g. bed frames, tables etc.) daily with 1% Sodium Hypochlorite Solution.
- Clean the clothes and other linen used by the person separately using common household detergent and dry.
- Clean and disinfect toilet surfaces daily with regular household bleach solution/phenolic disinfectant
Duration of home quarantine
The home quarantine period is for 14 days from contact with a confirmed case or earlier if a suspect case (of whom the index person is a contact) turns out negative on laboratory testing.