In order to guard pregnant women and two lakh elderly citizens living in rural areas of Ahmedabad district from getting infected with Covid-19, the Gujarat government will be implementing “reverse quarantine” for the first time in the state.
“Reverse quarantine is a practice of detaching the most vulnerable groups from the general public, to protect them from contracting the virus. Rural Ahmedabad will be the first to implement this process. Under this, we are trying to protect those who are 60 years and above, as well as third trimester ANC (antenatal care) mothers,” said Arun Mahesh Babu, District Development Officer (DDO) of Ahmedabad.
“We will be asking these two groups to stay at home and not get exposed to the community. We believe that local transmission is already there in the rural areas and it should not impact these vulnerable groups. Now, if they move around unnecessarily, they can get infected,” he added. The vulnerability of these groups has increased after the state government has opened up the industrial sector and permitted inter-district movements. Infection in these groups will also create additional stress on the health care system and would further damage the Covid fatality record of Gujarat, the DDO said.
The practice of reverse quarantine is being implemented at a time when the number of Covid cases in rural Ahmedabad climbed to 251 on Tuesday, which is five times the number of cases on May 3. While 45 percent of the total number of cases are from nagarpalikas or municipalities within the district, 30 percent belong to the villages and the rest are from industrial clusters.
The Indian Express had reported about the positive cases among employees working in pharmaceutical companies like Cadila Pharmaceuticals, Intas Pharmaceuticals and Zydus Cadila, where employees hailing from the villages were also infected.
The district administration has begun the implementation of reverse quarantine from Detroj taluka and will later cover other green zones in the district such as Mandal, Dhandhuka and Dholera, where the number of Covid cases are relatively low. “The number of people in the 60-plus age group in the district is close to two lakh and there are about 17,000 third trimester ANC (Ante natal care) pregnant mothers in rural Ahmedabad including the nagarpalikas. This can help prevent unnecessary comorbidities,” he added.
Both Detroj and Mandal have only three positive cases and there is only one positive case in Dholera, as of Tuesday.
When asked if rural Ahmedabad is witnessing community transmission, the DDO said, “I wont be able to comment on that. It is only a preventive activity, an advance preparation.”
He added that gram yodhas (local youths who maintained a vigil on entry and exit from the village during the lockdown) and healthcare workers in the villages will help the administration carry out the reverse quarantine process.
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