Five COVID-19 deaths in the past week from congested Old Delhi areas have emerged as a fresh concern for health officials, with the Delhi government Friday putting three areas — Sadar Bazar, Nabi Karim and Chandni Mahal — in the list of containment zones where all movement will be barred.
The dead include a 60-year-old woman from Delhi Gate, a 70-year-old man from Sadar Bazar, a 62-year-old man from Farash Khana and two people from Darya Ganj — a woman aged 65 and a man aged 80.
“Contact tracing in the area is divided into three parts — first-level containment includes actively tracing contacts of positive cases; second-level containment includes taking symptomatic patients to quarantine facilities and placing asymptomatic ones under home isolation; third-level containment includes random sampling. Since the three areas designated as containment zones are highly congested, we are actively conducting surveillance programmes and trying to find travel and contact history of the victims,” said a senior health officer.
Adding to their concerns is the fact that 283 people, including 192 foreign nationals, who attended the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Nizamuddin West last month, have been traced by police to areas in Central and North Delhi.
The Indian Express has learnt 184 people, including 138 foreign nationals, were traced to 13 mosques in Chandni Mahal, and 55 eventually tested positive for the virus.
Following the evacuation from Hazrat Nizamuddin, directions were given to SHOs across the city to check mosques in their areas. “Local police traced them and shifted them to quarantine centres or hospitals,” said a senior officer.
DCP (Central) Sanjay Bhatia denied rumours that the people evacuated from Central Delhi were hiding in mosques: “We have traced them after directions were given to us. They were not hiding and we shifted them to the quarantine centres after coordinating with the departments concerned.”
There are 30 COVID-19 hotspots in the national capital. Delhi Police data suggests that apart from the 184 evacuated from Chandni Mahal, 26 were traced in Hauz Qazi and 18 people in Nabi Karim. “In North Delhi, 14 people were traced in Bara Hindu Rao area; 13 in Sadar Bazar; 15 in Wazirabad; and 13 in Sarai Rohilla,” said an officer.
The 184 from Chandni Mahal were shifted to centres in Gulabi Bagh and Rouse Avenue. “Tests conducted last week, results of which came back recently, showed 55 of them were COVID-19 positive. Reports of others are awaited,” said a senior officer.
According to sources, the health department’s next strategy is to look at micro-level areas where cases are being reported. Senior health officials said any area in Delhi that has two or more cases that are linked to the same place and person will be considered for containment. “Four people tested positive from Zakir Nagar area and we have ordered the administration to contain it. Similarly, another area in South Delhi has also reported a few cases and we are preparing a containment plan,” said an official.
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