Ashwini Kumar, Secretary to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Sunday said that as per the new ICMR guidelines the state would now discharge Covid19 patients after 10 days of treatment without a test confirming that they are indeed negative. This is applicable to Covid19 patients who have not shown any symptoms but have been admitted to hospital for treatment and were not the serious cases of the disease. Earlier all Covid19 patients who had recovered were discharged only after two of their consecutive tests came negative.
Though the state is simply following the ICMR guidelines, it has raised questions about the possibility of Covid 19 patients who have been discharged ending up infecting more such people. Take the case of Jay Patni, 19, from Vadodara who is under treatment and is waiting for his eighth test report. The Print reported his case in which the youth under treatment for Covid19 has not shown any symptoms after the first day but his test reports continue to be negative. The news website reported that Patni was reluctant to go home as he was afraid of infecting his parents. He belongs to Nagarwada, one of the hotspots in Vadodara.
Now under the new ICMR guidelines someone like Patni can be discharged since he has been showing no obvious signs. Yet if Patni were to be sent home, he is most likely to infect others, as he himself fears.
The ICMR guidelines may help the state battle the shortage of test kits and increase the number of discharges. But it raises serious questions about whether it will lead to a rise in infections as patients like Patni are discharged without a test confirming that they are negative.