Ending quarantine for healthcare workers a ‘non-scientific approach’: AIIMS

The Resident Doctors Association of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Friday termed the government’s decision to end the need to quarantine healthcare workers after Covid-19 duty a “non-scientific approach”, saying it would prove detrimental for both workers and patients, and also derail the efforts to contain the pandemic.

In a letter to the director, the RDA said if availability of healthcare workers (HCWs) to run hospital services was a problem, there should be provision to test them on the day 5-7 before they return to work to ensure workplace transmission doesn’t occur, news agency PTI reported.

Shortening the quarantine duration and denying mandatory testing on day 5-7 after duty will turn into a deadly combination which would derail the battle against pandemic, the RDA said.

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“We would like to bring to your kind notice the government’s ill-founded and non-scientific approach to revise already existing protocol of two-week Covid duty followed by a two-week quarantine, will prove to be detrimental for the HCWS, patients and the country’s effort to contain the pandemic,” the letter signed by RDA President Adarsh Pratap Singh and General Secretary Srinivas Rajkumar T read.

As per the Union Health Ministry guidelines issued on May 15, healthcare workers serving in Covid-19 areas do not need to undergo quarantine unless there has been violation in the use of PPE or any other form of high-risk exposure or they have symptoms suggestive of infection.

Previously, all healthcare personnel doing Covid-19 duty had to work for 14 days and it was then followed by a two-week quarantine to ensure that they did not spread the infection to anyone else.

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It suggested that hospitals should not make HCWs work more than 6 hours in PPE per day and that two weeks of quarantine is essential to avoid burnout.

“We must acknowledge, not only the infection and challenges of wearing PPE, but also, the psychological impact of Covid duties on HCWs in this Mental Health Awareness month,” they said in their letter.

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