The Odisha government on Friday extended the mandatory quarantine period for COVID-19 suspects to 28 days from the existing 14 days, a senior official said here. The step was taken after observing changes in the incubation period of the highly infectious virus, he said.
State government's COVID-19 spokesman Subroto Bagchi said institutional quarantine period would now be of 21 days and home quarantine for another seven days.
"As per scientific evidence observed so far, the incubation period of COVID-19 could be as high as 28 days and not 14 days. Keeping this in mind, the mandatory (1st phase) quarantine period has been increased to 21 days," he said.
Asking people returning from outside the state to be mentally prepared to spend 28 days in quarantine, Bagchi said the inmates of temporary medical centres (TMC) set up in 6,798 gram panchayats across the state will get all the facilities during their stay.
He said the inmates intending to work at the TMCs, mostly set up in schools, would be assigned duties such as gardening, plantation and other activities for 10 days.
"Each inmate opting to work during the quarantine will be given Rs 150 per day," he said. Bagchi clarified that Rs 150 daily wage for 10 days will be in addition to the incentive of Rs 2,000 for successful completion of the quarantine period.
Therefore, a person may earn Rs 3,500 during his quarantine period apart from getting free food, lodging and other requirements, he added.
The inmates returning from highly COVID-infected states are also being provided separate bed, bed sheets, pillow cover, buckets, mug, soap and other sanitary requirements at the TMCs, the official said.
Health and Family Welfare Department spokesperson Jayant Panda said the government extended the quarantine period as in some of the cases, it was found that COVID-19 symptoms are existing even after 14 days of quarantine.
"Therefore, 14 days quarantine is not sufficient," Panda said. The official said after completing 28 days of quarantine, a person has to be declared fully free from the possibility of getting infected.
Meanwhile, the state government has already set up more than 13,000 TMCs with 5,48,161 beds in gram panchayat and urban local body areas.
So far, 40,383 people have returned to Odisha after the Centre allowed those stranded across the country in view of the lockdown to return to their respective states, said Information and Public Relations Secretary Sanjay Singh. As many as 6,618 people returned to the state on Friday, Singh said.