The Delhi Health Department has, in a letter to all district magistrates, red-flagged the fact that even though coronavirus cases are rising in the city, the number of containment zones is going down.
On Tuesday, the capital recorded 500 Covid-19 cases, taking the case tally to 10,554. The number of containment zones has come down from 97 a few weeks ago to 66 on Wednesday.
In an order issued on Tuesday, Delhi Health Secretary Padmini Singla asked district magistrates to go through the list of positive cases in their areas and create containment zones as per guidelines. The order was marked to the Additional Chief Secretary, the Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor and the Secretary to the Chief Minister.
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“On going through the data regarding spread of Covid-19 infections, it is observed that every day 300-400 cases are adding to the tally but declaration of equivalent ‘containment zones’ by district magistrates is not happening. The guidelines are clear to declare an area as a containment zone where three or more Covid-19 positive cases are discovered in close proximity,” states the order.
On May 15, The Indian Express had reported that the number of containment zones had dropped over the last two weeks even as cases continued to spike.
“If the earlier policy (of declaring containment zones) was being followed, many more areas would have been sealed by now,” said an official.
As per guidelines issued by the health department, containment zones are supposed to be declared based on the number of cases, their contacts and the geographical spread.
The order highlights that the “significance of containment zones. is greatly increased as it becomes the single most important factor to decide permissibility of activities in an area”. It also reiterates measures to be taken once an area has been declared a containment zone, where only doorstep delivery of essential items is allowed.
“Stricter action needs to be initiated in these zones in terms of active surveillance, testing and contact tracing,” said a senior official from the department of health.
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