Delhi readies guidelines on home quarantine for swine flu


New Delhi: The Delhi government Sunday prepared guidelines for home quarantine to tackle the swine flu outbreak in the national capital and stressed there was no need to panic or for schools to close down.

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“We advise the people not to create panic and follow instructions issued by the health authorities. The parents and school authorities have also been asked to educate children about the signs and symptoms of H1N1 influenza to avoid panic,” Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told reporters.

In Delhi, so far 278 people have tested positive for the influenza A(H1N1) virus.

There are 14 testing centres in Delhi of which 11 are run by the Delhi government, two by the central government and one is at a municipal hospital.

Around 178 people have been discharged from these centres while 58 are still undergoing treatment.

Briefing the media after an emergency cabinet meeting called to discuss the swine flu outbreak that has claimed four lives in the country, Dikshit said the government has commissioned a helpline number, 011-23921401, to provide information on swine flu.

“We have appointed a state level nodal officer and an additional nodal officer to effectively coordinate the issues related to the H1N1 influenza,” Dikshit added.

Delhi chief secretary Rakesh Mehta told IANS that the government will soon issue “guidelines on home quarantine” to tackle looming the swine flu spread.

“We will be issuing guidelines on home quarantine…just like malaria and other communicable diseases are tackled for the swine flu, we are advising that those with flu symptoms should not take prophylactis (preventive medicines) without consulting doctors. In addition, we suggest that those whose relatives are showing any symptoms of the flu should wear three-layer masks at home as well,” Mehta explained.

He added: “The government is not advising that schools be shut down at all. They (schools) have been advised to discuss with the directorate of education that has a set of guidelines ready.”

With swine flu infecting more and more people, schools in Delhi are doing all they can to contain the spread of the virus among students. Schools like south Delhi’s Sanskriti School have closed for the week till Aug 17, others are sending back students with the slightest symptoms.

Mehta also said if the present centres prove to be ineffective, “the government would prepare a list of more state-run centres, but private hospitals are not being considered so far.”