Kerala has yet again amended its quarantine rules for those traveling from other states. Now, people coming in from red zones will undergo a mandatory 14-day home quarantine, instead of compulsory institutional quarantine.
According to the revised rules, inter-state travellers who do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms during medical checks at the border and suspected persons who are tested and found to be negative, will be allowed to undergo 14-day home quarantine.
Those travellers who are found to be symptomatic at the border will be taken for an RT-PCR test and then shifted to a COVID-19 hospital as per the results. Those who exhibit symptoms during their 14-day home quarantine will also be tested with RT-PCR kits.
Further, the state government will arrange quarantine facilities for those who do not have adequate facilities to home-quarantine themselves. They will be shifted to state government allotted quarantine centres. Whether a house is fit for home quarantine or not will be inspected by officials of the health department, local self government and home department.
It was only on Thursday that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in his press meet announced that persons traveling into Kerala from other red zones in the country are required to mandatorily undergo institutional quarantine.
However, the decision was amended after an expert committee consulted by the state government said that institutional quarantine where there are only basic facilities for people, may lead to increased chances of the infection spreading.
Home quarantine was also a method that Kerala used to tackle COVID-19 spread in its first and second phases, the committee added.
As per the revised rules, persons with travel history who are exhibiting symptoms will be tested with an RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription - Polymerase chain reaction) testing kit.
Further, random samples of people with recent travel history who have entered Kerala will also be taken through RT-PCR test kits. Until the anti- body test kits are made available by the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), these random samples will be tested using RT-PCR. Once the anti-body test kits are procured, only those who test positive with the anti-body kits will be subjected to an RT-PCR test.
The testing rules too, have been relaxed by the government. While earlier, those who tested positive for the virus were subjected to follow-up tests with the PCR kits every alternate day from the day of the first result, the new rules suggest testing once every 7 days.
The initial guidelines had also recommended PCR testing for everyone coming in from red zones. This too, has now been removed.