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Over 900 home quarantined people in city are �defaulters�

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, June 23 - Over 900 people home quarantined in Guwahati are �defaulters�, and their behaviour has posed a risk to the society raising fears of community transmission of COVID-19.

People home quarantined in the city are being remotely monitored using ICT tools and Assam Police has collaborated with Pratishruti Cancer and Palliative Trust for the exercise that began on May 27.

The �distant mode� monitoring aims to carry out video monitoring, counselling and telemedicine of quarantined individuals with the help of over 200 volunteers through voice and video calls, and a geo-fencing app.

Around 13,149 people are under home quarantine as on date and the number is increasing by around 700-800 each day.

�We have identified 927 people who are defaulters. Some are not responding to calls, in some cases phones are switched off and in some they are refusing to speak. The system is not able to monitor them and their behaviour has posed a risk to the society which is required to be dealt with by police,� said Dr Gayatri Gogoi, honorary programme director of Pratishruti, the brain behind the project along with Dhemaji SP Dr Dhananjay Ghanwat.

In fact, some individuals had provided wrong phone numbers and addresses during their registration, making the monitoring further difficult.

According to Dr Gogoi, nearly all the home quarantined people are in psychological stress, and around seven per cent (910) were very serious which required expert counselling.

�They are already stressed due to the situation during the lockdown and after returning they have been home quarantined. So, the normalcy is not there. We have observed behavioural changes and anxiety in almost all of them,� she said.

Another factor leading to the stress is late dispatch of the test reports. Around 28.6 per cent of the people got their test reports after completion of the 14-day home quarantine.

What has caused further worry is that there have been a number of instances of harassment by landlords.

�There have been instances when the water supply of the home quarantined tenants was cut. Some were even forced to vacate the houses. One family had to spend a night in an auto-rickshaw,� Dr Gogoi said, adding that police intervention was sought in the cases.

A tested scientific questionnaire tool is being used for monitoring of quarantine guidelines which also simultaneously evaluate symptoms, living conditions at home, availability of essential items, assessment of psychological status, etc.

Around 6,887 people completed home quarantine in the city since the project was initiated.

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