In its resistance to COVID pandemic, state of Rajasthan upheld the practice of Quarantine as its first line of defence. During the months of lockdown, numerous quarantine centers have been established over the past couple of months and the process of capacity building continues even as the state gradually steps towards end of the lockdown.
By end of May month, Rajasthan has quarantined more than 1.8 million people of which maximum 1.6 millions were migrants from other states and abroad. The remaining were contacts of those detected positive or suspected of COVID infection. There are more than 2.66 lakh people quarantined in the state these days, of these 2.5 lakh are under home quarantine while nearly 12 thousand are quarantined in institutional centres. However, the state has a huge institutional capacity of 1,85,602 beds across 5,836 centres in Rural areas and 40,394 beds in 524 urban quarantine centres.
The quarantine measures of the state government though went beyond just walls and isolation. In accordance to the directions of chief minister Ashok Gehlot, the state government established an elaborate guidelines for institutional and home quarantine, a comprehensive infrastructure of quarantine centres backed by a strong IT and support system has been established in a short span of time.
Suggested quote, “The government is considerate that people may be anxious due to the unprecedented circumstances and might be scared of the quarantine, thus all efforts are being made to ensure maximum possible comfort to the quarantined people. Along with food and shelter, we have also provision for counselling and recreation in order to keep these people motivated,” says ACS, Public Works Department, Veenu Gupta.
In past couple of months these quarantine centers by providing satisfactory accommodation to thousands of suspected cases helped to keep them at bay with general public. Also at the same time those in these centers were screened regularly to ensure they receive due medical care when needed. There are several instances where the quarantined citizens expressed their gratitude by painting the quarantine centers and some even made monetary donations for government relief fund.
As awareness towards social distancing and self quarantine has considerably increased during the lockdown phase, there has been a shift towards home quarantine. The procedure though helps the person in home environment, the government continues to maintain vigil through other measures extending from invoking social responsibility to GPS based movement tracing. Those to violate the guidelines are dealt with counselling, forced quarantine or even legal cases. More than 11 thousand people have been booked for quarantine violations while more than 6 thousand were shifted from home quarantine to institutional quarantine.
Fortunately, the strict measures adopted by Rajasthan government in imposing the lockdown and the robust health facilities limited the spread of COVID in state and quarantine capacity remain above the requirements. These quarantine centers also served as shelters for thousands of migrant worker families that were stranded in the lockdown circumstances and now are helping to quarantine migrant labourers returning to villages.
This capacity build up remains on standby for future needs, meanwhile, resumption of domestic and international air travel has led to increase in demand of paid quarantine. The government has also made adequate arrangements in the direction to provide the Rajasthan diaspora a safe return.