The Arvind Kejriwal government on Monday issued new Standard Operating Procedures for management of coronavirus patients in Delhi, PTI reported.

There are separate guidelines for people who test positive through a rapid testing process, whose results are available in around 30 minutes, and the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction – or RT-PCR test – which takes 24 to 48 hours to provide results.

Under the rapid antigen test, all patients will be examined by a medical officer at the testing site to assess the severity of the illness and whether they qualify for home isolation. The assessment made by the medical officer at the testing centre shall effectively constitute as one made at a coronavirus centre, it added. Mild or pre-symptomatic patients who do not have a separate room or a toilet will be transferred to a Covid care centre. All cases of moderate, severe illness will be transferred to the hospital.

Those eligible for home isolation will also be provided with a pulse oximeter by the medical officer at the testing centre to measure oxygen levels every few hours, the Delhi government said.

If a patient is tested positive by RT-PCR, a team of district surveillance officers will contact patients over the phone to assess severity of illness. Mild and pre-symptomatic patients will be shifted to Covid care centre to assess if they can later be placed under home quarantine. The guidelines said that pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, unless they have co-morbidities, may be in home isolation if they have two rooms with a separate toilet for the patient.

Those in-home isolation will be formally discharged 10 days after they test negative for the coronavirus.

The new rules were issued after Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal last week rolled back his order making five-day institutional quarantine mandatory for all coronavirus patients in Delhi. The move was strongly opposed by the Aam Aadmi Party.

Delhi has recorded a surge in coronavirus cases and is struggling to contain the pandemic with reported shortages in its hospitals. As of Tuesday morning, the Capital has 62,655 cases and 2,233 deaths.

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