Coronavirus patient in hospital
Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment take care of a patient suffering from the coronavirus at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, India, May 28, 2020.Courtesy: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

On Monday, the Karnataka government issued a circular for those who've submitted swab samples for COVID-19 testing. The circular says that those who've submitted samples should avoid going outside and will have to observe quarantine as they may or may not be infectious.

As cases rise alarmingly in the state and the government has decided on lockdown in Bengaluru, more caution is being advised on part of the people. 

Quarantine for those who've submitted swab samples

So far the people have been following an approach of 'not quarantined tell proven positive' when it came to COVID-19. Often when it comes to COVID-19 testing, many await results for a long time.  As the burden on the healthcare system increases and the delay grows longer between when samples are collected and when results are delivered, the government has had to think about the lag time. 

The time between when one gets the result and when they have given their samples has posed a risk to the spread of infection. Trying to minimise this risk, the Karnataka government has issued a new circular on Monday. The circular asks those who've given their swab samples for testing to observe strict quarantine as they may or may not be infectious.

The circular reads, "Persons who have provided swab sample for COVID-19 testing may be infectious. Hence, as matter of abundant caution, all such persons shall be advised strict isolation/quarantine at home till their lab results are communicated."

Government of Karnataka circular on those who've given swab samples for testing
Government of Karnataka website

Going a step further, the government has assured strict action against those not following the guidelines, "Any irresponsible behaviour by the person like going outdoors, socialising, going to work, etc. will result in spread of infection in the community and consequently such acts shall invite stringent legal action under the  Epidemic Diseases Act." 

The order signed by Jawaid Akhtar the Additional Chief Secretary to Government in Karnataka. Since the pandemic broke out, and Karnataka has been seeing a steep rise in cases, many have been flouting restrictions and disregarding rules in the state, despite orders including disregarding home quarantine orders. Perhaps this move might encourage better civic sense to prevail.