The Maharashtra government on Monday started marking all those who have been asked to self-isolate themselves for 14 days over COVID-19 with a stamp in indelible ink, which says “home quarantined”, The Indian Express reported. Maharashtra’s health ministry has so far confirmed 32 coronavirus cases in the state – the highest in India.
At a meeting with health officials, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged citizens to show greater self discipline for the next 15 days as it is crucial for the mutation of the virus. He said the decision to mark people who have been advised home quarantine was taken to install a sense of responsibility in them. “Those who require self-quarantine but don’t want to stay in hospital or hotels and want to go home, they should have a sense of responsibility,” he told reporters. “They should not roam around freely. They should follow quarantine strictly.”
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the left hand of those sent to 100% home quarantine will be stamped to identify them easily, IANS reported. The ink is the same that is used to mark voters during elections.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation also urged citizens to get the stamp. “People who are advised to be home quarantined will now get inked at the back of the palm,” the civic body said in a tweet. “This badge of honour will serve as a constant reminder, for 14 days. For others, gets easy to spot and remind to return home. One worry less!”
Those who have history of foreign travel, or contact with those with a history of foreign travel but have no symptoms of the virus have been advised home quarantine.
Tope added that 39 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Maharashtra, 108 people have been quarantined in various hospitals and 621 have been advised home quarantine. “People who have been advised to self-quarantine will be stamped, like during elections, on their hand mentioning that the date – until when they should be indoors, he said. “If such people go out, others can identify them as home quarantine patients. This is being done so that patients strictly observe home quarantine.”
The chief minister said fighting COVID-19 is not only the government’s responsibility but citizens too will have to chip in by adhering to the advisories. “The coronavirus has spread all over the world,” he added. “There is hardly any country in the world that is not yet under the coronavirus threat. This is a global challenge now. Whatever we are doing is in the interest of citizens. I am sure people will observe self-restraint. It is not correct to make rules for everything.”
Among the measures announced on Monday, the government, under the Epidemic Disease Act, ordered private offices to operate at below 50% of the total attendance and allow the rest to work from home. The state also postponed all university and school examinations, except Class 10 and Class 12, until further notice. All scheduled elections have also been deferred for the next three months.