Local levels told to ensure basic amenities in quarantine centres

Kathmandu, April 8

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has issued a circular to chief administrative officers of all local levels, directing them to strictly implement the ‘Standard on Operation and Management of Quarantine for COV- ID-19 Quarantine Facilities’ for providing basic amenities to quarantined persons.

The quarantine centres were found lacking in basic amenities and, skilled human resources and necessary medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders, ventilators etc. Quarantine is to restrict the movement or activities of persons who are not ill but are suspected to have been exposed to infection.

It is meant to prevent transmission of diseases to others in families or communities.

There are many suspected cases quarantined in community-based facilities.

The MoFAGA directed the CAOs to modify or upgrade quarantine facilitates in such a way that they met the standards set by the government. Infrastructure was found to be insufficient at the quarantine facilities. People kept in quarantine face inhumane and disrespectful treatment. Quarantine shelters also lack proper management. Contrary to the standard, many quarantine facilities do not have doctors, nurses, health workers. Some are without safety gears for health workers and people are compelled to sleep on the floor due to lack of beds.

According to MOFAGA, persons or groups exposed at a large public gatherings or persons believed to have been exposed to COVID-19 during international travel, are in quarantine.

The recommended duration of quarantine is at least 14 days from the date of suspected exposure. The purpose of quarantine during the COV- ID-19 outbreak is to prevent or reduce transmission by separating contacts of suspected patients from the family and community, monitoring symptoms of virus infection and providing referral service in case of any sign of the disease, MoFAGA said.

As per the standard, the concerned local levels are required to enforce good hygiene practices and provide health and safety equipment at the quarantine centres. They need to be equipped with gender-friendly bathrooms and toilets, food, dining areas, visitors’ entry and exit points and waiting rooms, among others. The health workers deputed to the quarantine centres are also responsible for taking care of quarantined persons and maintaining social distancing among them, communicating to them on a regular basis, ensuring availability of information, education and communication materials on prevention of exposure to COVID-19.

Quarantine persons should also have access to soap, sanitisers, running water, separate towels, tissue paper and trash bin in line with the standard.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 09, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.