The number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus so far has crossed the 16,000-mark but there also is some good news. A total of 2,301 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals across the country.
In Delhi, of the nearly 2,000 patients, 290 have gone home after being cured. India’s recovery rate has gone up to 14.91% from 8% two weeks ago.
As many as 56 districts in the country haven’t reported new infections for two weeks. As many as 325 districts have no cases at all. Many districts, including three in Uttar Pradesh, have been declared coronavirus-free.
As the lockdown 2.0 enters its second leg and selective relaxation in non-containment areas kicks in while strict restrictions continue in others, Mail Today also seeks to turn the spotlight on how some hotspots are bending the virus curve through extensive screening, isolation, testing, treatment and strict enforcement of curbs.
BHILWARA’S RUTHLESS STRATEGY
Hospitals in Rajasthan’s textile town of Bhilwara, once a major hotspot headache for the Ashok Gehlot government, have now become free of coronavirus patients. The transformation is being credited to what authorities call a ‘ruthless containment’ strategy implemented in the district.
Today, of the 28 coronavirus patients, 24 have recovered, discharged and sent back home. Two others are waiting for their third test to be negative before being discharged, while two succumbed to the virus.
Rajasthan’s textile town of Bhilwara, once a major hotspot has now become free of coronavirus.
“There is no known positive case in Bhilwara today,” said Rajendra Bhatt, District Collector, Bhilwara, putting to rest chances of any exponential rise in the number of cases in the district anticipated earlier.
Officials said that it was the ‘ruthless containment’ strategy, timely action, extensive screening in rural and urban parts, coupled with strict enforcement of curfew and lockdown restrictions that helped contain the spread of the pandemic.
During the initial period of the coronavirus outbreak in Rajasthan, Bhilwara was increasingly becoming an area of concern.
As many as 17 medical practitioners, who worked at a private hospital, tested positive. The hospital was sealed and the medical staff put in isolation. Thereafter the health department, along with the district administration, toiled to ensure that community or cluster spread of the virus, which could have wreaked havoc, did not happen.
The health department claims it has ensured hundred per cent screening of people in Bhilwara. For this purpose, the state government had deployed 3,000 teams of health workers in the district.
“The quick decision of imposing a curfew and a complete lockdown including sealing the district borders and cutting the movement of public and private vehicles. That was number one and number two was immediate mapping of positive cases and their contacts”, said Rohit Kumar Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Medical and Health, Rajasthan.
As per the health department, more than 6,50,000 homes and more than 24 lakh people have been screened in urban and rural Bhilwara in what the government calls an unprecedented exercise. On the administrative front, strict measures were undertaken.
The entire district of Bhilwara was sealed and 27 chowkis were established. “First it was the immediate step to seal the boundaries and impose a curfew. This was the first important thing because the doctor, who was infected first, had seen many patients. The record of the patients with us was only of those he had seen in the hospital but we had no record of the patients who he had seen at home,” said Bhatt. On the basis of the success of the Bhilwara model, the Centre has recommended that in other affected areas, a similar ruthless containment strategy is followed.
KASARAGOD’S CLINICAL CALL
Union Health ministry’s joint secretary Lav Agarwal praised Kasaragod, the northern most district of Kerala, for the administrations’ successful handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the effective implementation of various containment measures despite various unique challenges it faced.
As many as 113 coronavirus positive patients out of a total of 168 cases in the district have already been cured, an achievement which officials attributed to proper clinical management. Also, not even one infected person has died in the district whose success is now referred to as the Kasaragod model of coronavirus cluster containment strategy.
Union Health ministry’s joint secretary Lav Agarwal praised Kasaragod for successful handling of coronavirus outbreak.
“Out of 168 total Covid-19 cases in Kasaragod, 113 have been cured; most importantly, due to proper clinical management, not even one infected person died.
Remaining active cases, too, are being monitored well,” Agarwal said.
Among the challenges that the district faced is the fact that a large percentage of the population lives abroad, which resulted in two waves of infections, first in February from a China-returned student and the second in mid-March after the return of individuals from the Middle-East. Union health ministry officials have praised Kerala’s strategy of appointing a special state officer in Kasaragod for seamless coordination.
Also, the police, the health department, the fire and rescue unit came together with the district administration for efficient contact tracing and to ensure strict isolation measures. On April 9 Kasaragod had 136 patients under treatment making it one of the major hotspots in the entire country.
But effective and strict implementation of the lockdown ensured that new cases dipped. On the other side, more people started recovering in the district thanks to quality treatment at government facilities.
The district which did not have a medical college opened a new facility in less than two weeks and a special team of health officials from Thiruvananthapuram travelled the length of Kerala to make this functional. In less than a week active cases dipped from 136 to 51.
One important intervention of the administration’s management was its efforts in quarantining all primary and secondary contacts and also high-risk cases – mostly senior citizens.
DELHI’S DILSHAD GARDEN
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain have often referred to Operation Shield, a six-pronged strategy that has helped in containing the coronavirus in containment zones.
Areas where it has fetched positive results include Dilshad Garden in North East Delhi, Vasundhara Enclave and Khichripur in East Delhi. The North East Delhi neighbourhood was sealed on March 31 and no new cases have been reported in the next two weeks.
“One case was reported in Mansara Apartments in Vasundhara Enclave and two cases in Khichripur locality in Kalyan Puri.
A view of Delhi’s hotspot Dilshad Garden where coronavirus spread has been curbed for now. (Photo: Qamar Sibtain/India Today)
All aspects of Operation SHIELD – sealing, home quarantine, isolation and tracing, essential supplies delivery, local sanitisation and door-to-door health checks – were implemented diligently in these neighbourhoods,” said an official.
These areas are among 79 in Delhi which have been sealed after being declared “containment zones” by the government. With about 2,000 positive cases, Delhi remains the second worst-affected region after Maharashtra. As many as 290 patients have recovered while 45 died over the weeks due to the pandemic.
“The number of containment zones is increasing. We had carried out random testing in these areas where we are not allowing people to move in or out. But inside, people mingle among themselves in violation of the norms. Coronavirus is spreading fast in Delhi. It is a worrying situation, but things are still under control,” Kejriwal said on Sunday.
As many as 56 districts in 23 states and UTs didn’t report any cases in the last 14 days.2,301 patients have been cured so far in the country.
– LAV AGARWAL, JT. SECRETARY, HEALTH MINISTRY
While people within Dilshad Garden cannot leave for essential supplies, the Delhi government has set up a team of nodal officers for food, ration and medical. Delhi government officials have formed a WhatsApp group of all residents who can put out their requests and the government is ensuring a speedy delivery.
UP’S VIRUS-FREE DISTRICTS
Three districts in Uttar Pradesh have been declared free from Covid-19. State principal secretary (health) Amit Mohan Prasad said Pilibhit, Maharajganj and Hathras have become free of Covid-19 as patients suffering have fully recovered. “However district authorities have been instructed not to lower the guard and continue to take necessary precautions,” he said.
In Pilibhit, the first case of the coronavirus, a 73-year-old woman who returned from Saudi Arabia, was reported on March 22. Later her son also contracted the disease from her. Both patients have been discharged from the hospital after they fully recovered.
In Maharajganj, all six patients have been discharged after they recovered and tested negative for two consecutive times. As many as 36 people who came in contact with them have also tested negative. In Hathras, four people who attended the Markaz event in Delhi had tested positive. They have also been discharged after their report came negative.
(With inputs from Nelanshu Shukla in Lucknow and Ashutosh Mishra in New Delhi)