A revised Covid strategy for Delhi, prepared by an expert committee headed by NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul, will focus on containing the virus in rural areas. According to sources, in a meeting with the Delhi government on Monday, experts discussed certain areas which need to be in focus as part of the revised containment plan.
“There is a small rural area belt in Delhi where the spread of the disease has been observed. The rural community also has to be protected to ensure there is no further spread. However, with a rise in cases, it was expected that the disease will spread to these areas as well,” said a member of the committee, who did not wish to be named.
In the first week of June, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had formed an expert committee to devise a strategy for containment of Covid-19 in the capital. The document was prepared by a team of experts — AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul, ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava and Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh from NCDC — and it suggested capping testing charges and treatment cost for Covid patients.
This is the second time that the experts have stepped in to suggest preventive measures. The committee is likely to submit its report in a day or two.
“The pandemic, as a whole, is a dynamic process. As the situation changes, you need to refine the containment plan. There must be a periodic review, which was held on Monday with top officials. We reviewed all dimensions of pandemic control to see how people are behaving, hospital preparedness, and how containment strategies should move forward with the required changes,” said another official who was part of the review meeting.
According to senior district officials, an increase in cases in rural areas may be due to the focus on the special surveillance group which includes rickshaw/auto, taxi drivers, domestic helps, daily wage workers (plumbers, electricians, carpenters and mechanics) and daily suppliers of food, essential items, groceries, etc. The group was included in the revised SOPs issued by the Delhi government in the first week of July.
“We have been focusing on aggressive testing for the special surveillance group. Those who test positive are immediately isolated and family members are traced for containment. This has led to an increase in cases in rural areas,” said an official from the state health department.
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