New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) The Delhi High Court Wednesday directed that the family of four, sent to 7-day institutional quarantine after returning from the UK despite testing negative for COVID-19, be sent to home quarantine for seven days saying the central and Delhi governments' guidelines on the issue were contradictory.
Justice Prathiba M Singh issued the direction saying there was 'no clarity' in the notifications which were 'contradictory' regarding quarantine of passengers coming from the UK and directed the Delhi government to instruct the IGI airport to prominently display on its website the standard operating procedures (SOP) so that no confusion is caused to travellers.
The direction was issued in view of contradictions in the stand of the Delhi government and the Centre.
The central government said its guidelines only mandate 14-days home quarantine for travellers from the UK if they test negative and institutional quarantine is not advised.
The Delhi government however said there was a January 29 central government SOP which stated that all passengers sitting close to a traveller who tested positive for COVID-19 have to be sent to institutional quarantine.
The court said, 'All these notifications are contradictory and there is no clarity as to which are applicable. There is no clarity whether the January 29 SOP continues to be in operation in view of the stand of the central government.
'Since there is no clarity about the SOP and the petitioners (family) include two minor children below the age of 10 years, they shall remain in home quarantine instead of institutional quarantine. They shall strictly adhere to the quarantine norms.' The court also directed the Delhi government to 'give clear instructions to the IGI airport to display the current SOP prominently on its website, so that travellers are aware and there is no confusion.' With the direction, the court disposed of the plea by the family challenging the action taken against them.
Advocate Ganesh Chand Sharma, appearing for the family, had on Tuesday told the court that all the members were tested for COVID-19 when they arrived here from the UK on February 20 and despite testing negative they were 'illegally and unlawfully' sent to institutional quarantine.
He had also told the court that according to the guidelines published on the Delhi airport website, institutional quarantine was not mandatory for all the passengers arriving from the UK and was applicable only to those who tested positive for COVID-19.
The guidelines also exempted from institutional quarantine those travelling with minors below the age of 10 years, Sharma told the court.
The petition had said that before starting from the UK, the family had undergone a COVID-19 test and they were issued a 'fit-to-fly' certificate.
After arriving at Delhi, they were again tested and were found negative for COVID-19, despite which they were sent to institutional quarantine at their cost in a 5-star hotel instead of home quarantine as sought by the petitioners. PTI HMP SA