The districts of the country will be classified into three categories such as hotspots, non-hotspots and green zone, announced the Union Health Ministry Wednesday in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. In a routine press briefing on the current coronavirus situation in the country, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal said that till Tuesday, 170 are hotspot districts and 207 are non-hotspot districts.
As per the ministry, hotspot districts are those where i) either the number of cases is high or where ii) rate of growth of COVID-19 cases is high or in other words, the doubling time of cases is low. The number of districts in the second category – districts which are not hot spots but where cases have been reported – is 207. The third category is green zone districts. Stating this, the Joint Secretary informed that besides the hot spots identified by the Centre, states who are fighting the battle at field level may declare additional districts as hot spot districts and take required action accordingly.
He added that the Cabinet Secretary held a video conference today with all Chief Secretaries, DGPs, Health Secretaries, Collectors, SPs, Municipal Commissioners & CMOs where hotspots was discussed and orientation on field-level implementation of containment strategy was given.
Earlier in the day, as per guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs to enforce the second phase of the lockdown, industrial units in rural areas will be allowed to function from April 20 provided they follow social distancing norms while all kinds of public transport will be barred and public places closed till May 3.
Meanwhile, here are the top points from the health ministry briefing:
1. Special teams will search for new COVID-19 cases and samples will be collected and tested as per sampling criteria: Lav Agarwal
2. No community transmission in India so far, there have been some local outbreaks: Lav Agarwal
3. Till Tuesday, 170 districts are hotspots, non-hotpot districts are 207: Lav Agarwal
4. Total COVID-19 cases stand at 11,933 and 392 deaths so far. In last 24 hours, 1,118 cases reported and 39 deaths.
5. Approximately 11.41 per cent patients are recovering: Lav Agarwal
6. As per research in China, it was found that coronavirus might have originated due to mutation in bats. Bats might have transmitted it to pangolins, from pangolins it got transmitted to humans: R Gangakhedkar, Indian Council of Medical Research
7. We also conducted surveillance, in which we found that there are two types of bats, and they carried coronavirus which was not capable of affecting humans. It’s rare, maybe once in 1000 years that it gets transmitted from bats to humans: Raman Gangakhedkar.
Meanwhile, in a letter to all chief secretaries of states and UTs, Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said hotspot districts need to ensure implementation of the “outbreak containment plan, adding that the states also need to identify hotspots based on the doubling rate of confirmed cases.”
“This exercise of identification of hotspots has to be done on a weekly basis (every Monday) or earlier. Strict containment measures need to be implemented in these hotspots,” she said.
Further, for non-hotspot districts reporting cases, states need to ensure that containment measures are taken so as to ensure that cases in these areas can be contained. The letter, however, does not specify any district as a green zone.
Sudan asked states to undertake effective surveillance of severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) and infuenza-like illness (ILI) cases in districts that do not have any confirmed cases so far besides ensuring setting up of dedicated COVID-19 hospitals.
“Containment operation would be deemed over when there is no case reported in 28 days from an area after last case tests negative. Hotspots (designated red zones) will be assumed to be undertaking effective containment activities, if no case is reported in next 14 days (designated orange zones) will be deemed successful in containment, if no case is reported for 28 days (designated green zones),” Sudan said in the letter.
“It is requested that states should utilize the extended lockdown period to the maximum extent to convert the hotspots (red) to orange and in turn green zones,” she said. Red zone districts which require focused attention are those reporting large numbers of cases or having high growth rate of infections. These are the highest case load districts contributing to more than 80 pc of cases in lndia or highest case load districts contributing to more than 80 pc of cases for each state in lndia.
Hotspots districts with large outbreaks in Delhi are south, south east, Shahdara, west, north, central, New Delhi, East, south-west in Delhi while north west has been identified as hotspot district with clusters. North-east falls under non-hotspot districts reporting cases.
Besides, hotspots districts with large outbreaks include 22 districts from Tamil Nadu, 11 each from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, nine from Uttar Pradesh, eight from Telenhana, six from Kerela, five from Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, four from West Bengal and three from Karanataka.
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