The number of containment zones in Delhi is likely to sharply rise over the next few days, with district magistrates redrawing the boundaries of existing ones, dividing large ones into multiple segments, and identifying “as many new clusters of cases as possible”.
There are 280 containment zones in the city, housing a population of over 2.5 lakh. The southwest, south, west, east and north districts account for over 150 of the zones, where entry and exit is regulated and all activities are barred.
The Union Home Ministry had on June 21 directed the Delhi government to issue “revised demarcation of all containment zones” by June 26. The issue also figured in a review meeting held by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on June 25.
The DMs were empowered to take all decisions pertaining to containment measures, and DCPs, deputy commissioners of the municipal bodies and heads of all hospitals were directed to report to them to ensure effective implementation of lockdown measures.
Senior district-level officials involved in the exercise to redraw the maps said existing zones will remain, even as newer ones will be added. “We are trying to cluster as many cases as possible,” Southwest DM Rahul Singh said.
West DM Neha Bansal also said the existing zones will remain sealed, save one at Tilak Vihar, which is being broken into multiple contained areas. The Tilak Vihar containment zone, housing a population of 5,897, is the largest sealed area in the west district, which has 21 such zones.
“Around four separate zones will be carved out of the Tilak Vihar cluster. Separately, 9-10 new areas where clusters of cases have been identified are being sealed,” Bansal said.
A similar carving out of micro zones from large sealed areas was carried out in the central district earlier, where densely populated localities such as Chandni Mahal, Nabi Karim and Sadar Bazar were contained.
In identifying the new clusters, the DMs were directed to make use of the Itihaas and Aarogya Setu apps by the MHA. The district administrations did make use of the apps, while also “plotting the cases on our own and finding out clusters manually as the apps do not give the complete picture”, said a senior official.
“Union Home Minister Amit Shah also approved the combined use of the Aarogya Setu & Itihaas apps as strong predictive tools for future detection of Covid-19 outbreaks in population clusters. Training on the combined use of the apps was imparted by NCDC trainers to the district teams of the Delhi government on Thursday,” the MHA said in a statement.
The statement added that a city-wide serological survey, expected to cover 20,000 people, will begin Saturday. The survey will be jointly conducted by the NCDC and the Delhi government.
Separate door-to-door screening of people, to find out the spread of the infection and ensure timely tests for people showing symptoms, especially those with co-morbid conditions such as cardiac ailments, hypertension, diabetes and cancer, has already started.
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