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Official Arafat about law on quarantine: Decision to hospitalize asymptomatic patients can be taken by Ministry of Health

Inquam Photos/ Octav Ganea
Raed Arafat

The draft law on the imposition of measures in the public health field in such contexts of epidemiologic and biologic risk includes provisions that refer to "many aspects," and the decision regarding the hospitalization of the asymptomatic patients infected with the novel coronavirus can be taken by the Ministry of Health, secretary of state with the MAI (Ministry of Interior) Raed Arafat stated on Monday.

"This law refers to many different aspects. In what COVID is concerned, the Ministry of Health can issue an order anytime to establish that asymptomatic patients can stay at home. However, there are other diseases in the case of which, if the ill persons are not being mandatorily hospitalized, then a biologic bomb could be created. And if the patients are allowed to refuse hospitalization, this means that we created a problem that could generate a risk to public health," Arafat said, and he gave the example of the persons who have tuberculosis.

While attending the debate of the legal committee of the Senate, Raed Arafat showed that the measure is applied in countries such as Ireland, Finland and, in respect to the COVID-19 patients, the Ministry of Health can decide on a mechanism.

"In respect to COVID-19 we can discuss with the treatment committee of the Ministry of Health to establish a mechanism, a different one from the one we have now, in which the asymptomatic COVID patients will be allowed to stay at home, while following some very clear rules. This can be solved by the Ministry of Health alone, through the treatment committee especially set up for COVID. The law must allow us to take these measures, which we might not need to apply hundred per cent in the case of COVID," added the MAI official.

He drew attention that an asymptomatic patient "can infect the family," even in this stage. "The problem is quite complex. (...) The fact that the patient is asymptomatic doesn't mean that he/she cannot communicate the disease," Arafat warned.

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