With the number of fresh COVID-19 cases on the rise in Chennai and hospitals filling up fast, a few private healthcare firms are now distributing pamphlets to passengers arriving at the Chennai International Airport promising home monitoring.
Airport officials said all international passengers are expected to take an RT-PCR following which they are allowed to go home or any other destination registered in their e-pass and remain quarantined for 14 days. “If the RT-PCR test is positive, then the passenger details are passed on to the Health Department who will decide if the patient needs to be taken to a hospital or can remain under home or institutional quarantine,” an official said. But all passengers have to be on mandatory quarantine for 14 days.
After the COVID-19 cases started to reduce, the government cancelled the institutional quarantine and from October 1, 2020, all the passengers were to be in home quarantine for two weeks.
“Since many passengers did not have proper facilities for home quarantine and as they did not own oximeter and other equipment, at least two private hospital chains now offer these kits along with online monitoring of patients as various package deals,” the official added.
The basic plans include virtual consultation on alternate days for two weeks while in the advance packages, a staff nurse would visit the passengers at the home on day 5, 10, and also conducted a COVID-19 test on the final day.
Passengers can also purchase basic medical kit including a pulse oximeter, disinfectant, anti-bacterial wipes, gloves, sanitisers, face masks and disposal bags. These packages can also be extended for more days as per the passenger’s wish, according to a healthcare firm providing the service.
However, senior airport officials said that the Airports Authority of India had no role in this and it was entirely up to the passengers to purchase such home care kits or reject them. “Since private hospitals have set up facilities inside the airport premises, we cannot stop them from offering services,” an official said.