The Delhi High Court on 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 that 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 also urged the Delhi government to instruct the IGI airport to prominently display the standard operating procedures (SOP) so that no confusion is caused to travellers on its website.
According to the central government, its guidelines only mandate 14-days home quarantine for travellers from the UK if they test negative and institutional quarantine is not advised.
However, the Delhi government said that the government SOP stated that all passengers sitting close to a traveler who tested positive for Covid-19 have to be sent to institutional quarantine.
“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,” said the court.
“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.
Sharma told the court that, “The guidelines also excused from institutional quarantine those travelling with minors below the age of 10 years.
In the petition it was also mentioned that before starting from the UK, the family had undergone a Covid-19 test and were reported negative for Covid19.
They were again tested and were found negative for Covid-19, after arriving in Delhi but despite that they were sent to institutional quarantine at their cost in a 5-star hotel instead of home quarantine as sought by the petitioners.