Updated 14 September 2021
India, slowly reopening its borders for international travel, has made home quarantine compulsory for all incoming passengers to the country. Home quarantine still remains the mandatory treatment procedure for asymptomatic COVID-19 patients and those who might have been exposed to the virus.
Here’s all you need to know about the latest home quarantine rules for asymptomatic COVID-19 positive patients and air travellers in India.
Table of Contents
Home quarantine in India
For air travellers
The Union health ministry had issued a set of revised guidelines for international arrivals amid the spread of mutant variants of coronavirus in many countries, as a result of which home quarantine has been made compulsory for all arriving international travellers to the country.
- All international travellers will have to submit a self-health declaration as well as a declaration to comply with the government’s rule of home quarantine/self-monitoring for 14 days, on the online Air Suvidha portal before the scheduled travel.
- Passengers may be exempt from the 2-week quarantine only in case of death in the family. To seek such exemption apply through the online portal at least 72 hours before departure.
The cost of the quarantine has to be borne by the passengers. Acceptance of this obligation needs to be signed and submitted at the overseas embassy before the confirmation of their booking.
For COVID patients
Indian health authorities have medically prescribed home quarantine only for the following categories of COVID-19 patients.
- The patient should be clinically assigned as a mild/asymptomatic case by the treating medical officer.
- Such cases should have the requisite facility at their residence for self-isolation and for quarantining the family contacts.
- A caregiver should be available to provide care on a 24×7 basis. A communication link between the caregiver and the hospital is a prerequisite for the entire duration of home isolation.
- Elderly patients aged more than 60 years and those with comorbid conditions shall only be allowed home isolation after proper evaluation by the treating medical officer.
- Patients suffering from immune-compromised status (HIV, transplant recipients, cancer therapy etc.) are not recommended for home isolation. They shall only be allowed home isolation after proper evaluation by the treating medical officer.
The guidelines on home quarantine for other members are available here.
Treatment under home quarantine
The patient should strictly remain in a room at all times and take prescribed medications regularly, undertaking self-monitoring as instructed by the doctor.
When to seek medical attention
Immediate medical attention must be sought if serious signs or symptoms develop. These could include-
- Difficulty in breathing,
- Dip in oxygen saturation (SpO2 < 94% on room air)
- Persistent pain/pressure in the chest,
- Mental confusion or inability to arouse,
When to discontinue home isolation
Patient under home isolation will stand discharged and end isolation after at least 10 days have passed from onset of symptoms (or from date of sampling for asymptomatic cases) and no fever for 3 days. There is no need for testing after the home isolation period is over.
Safety guidelines while being quarantined
As per the guidelines of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the home quarantined person should:
- 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 comorbidities within the household.
- Restrict his/her movement within the house.
- Under no circumstances attend any social/religious gathering e.g. wedding, condolences, etc.
- Wash hand as often thoroughly with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Avoid sharing 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.Disposable masks are never to be reused.
- Masks used by patients/caregivers/ 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.