Health authorities in Abu Dhabi have been making sure that home quarantine is convenient and comfortable for Covid-19 patients. Free food, tele-consultations, laundry and waste management are just some of the basic services offered as part of the programme.
A medical team also conducts subsequent tests right at patients’ homes until they test negative, so they do not have to visit a centre, according to the Department of Health-Abu Dhabi (DoH).
The DoH and Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre have been offering the Home Isolation Programme since early April. Recently, the team launched a smart WhatsApp service, which now serves as a central source of information about Covid-19 and home quarantine. It also makes services accessible to enrolled patients.
Explaining the basic services that come with the programme, the department said all home-quarantined patients have access to doctors’ tele-consultation services.
A catering company also delivers three meals a day and the individual gets laundry services four times during the two-week period, the expected duration of the quarantine.
Waste is also collected from their homes twice a week, the DoH said.
Adults aged between 18 and 59, who tested positive for Covid-19, are given the option to undergo home quarantine, if they are asymptomatic or having mild symptoms and no risk factors, the DoH explained.
They must also have a smart phone and a single room with good ventilation and a separate toilet at home to be eligible.
Patients registered in the programme are asked to wear a monitoring device (a smart watch), which helps the authorities track and ensure that they are strictly confined to their home, the DoH said, emphasising that all these services are free of cost.
“The patient should be a responsible educated person who is committed to follow instructions on home isolation and treatment whenever necessary,” the DoH said.
High-risk patients – such as people above 60 years and others with chronic cardiac or respiratory diseases, and any other serious ailments affecting their immune system – and others who require direct healthcare support are not eligible for self-isolation at home, it added.
Penalty for violators
Those who violate the rules on home isolation are penalised with a fine, as per the updated list of penalties and violations issued by the Attorney-General.
Salem Al Zaabi, acting chief of the Emergency and Crisis Prosecution, previously said those who repeat quarantine violations would be referred to the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) prosecution for legal action.
The prosecution may refer the violators to court that may sentence them with an imprisonment of not more than six months and/or a fine of Dh100,000, in addition to publishing photos of violators in the newspapers.