While the delineation of red, orange and green zones has now been left to the states and Union territories (UTs), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday laid down the broad “parameters” on which a “multi-factorial analysis” should be based.
These include: the total number of active cases, active cases per lakh population, doubling rate over a 7-day period, case fatality ratio, tests per lakh population, and sample positivity rate. For each of these parameters, a “critical” level and a “desirable” level have been defined.
Significantly, the states have now been allowed to designate specific areas, instead of the entire district, as red, orange or green zones.
“States may categorise districts/ municipal corporations as red/ orange/ green zones. States may, however, also choose to categorise a sub-division/ ward or any other appropriate administrative unit as red/ orange/ green zone after detailed analysis at their end, duly taking into consideration the geographical spread of cases, contacts and their zone of influence in terms of disease spread,” Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said in a letter to the states on Sunday.
This was a demand raised by some state governments in their interactions with the Centre earlier. Almost 80% of India’s total number of Covid-19 cases are in 30 municipal areas.
Saying that containment is the most important action after demarcation of zones, Sudan referred to the ministry’s last two guidance documents for cluster containment, including one for large outbreaks.
A containment effort, she said, is deemed successful when there are no cases reported for 28 days. Active house-to-house case search, contact tracing, strict enforcement of social distancing, identification of volunteers from the community to help in the efforts, testing and advocacy on hand hygiene, cough etiquette are among the actions listed for containment zones.
The letter specified that a “buffer zone has to be delineated around each containment zone”.
Meanwhile, with 4,987 new cases (the highest single-day jump so far), including 120 deaths, in the last 24 hours, the total count is now 90,927 cases, of which 2,872 people died and 34,108 recovered.
At Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video conference with chief ministers on May 11, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said that states were best placed to decide the extent of relaxations that could be allowed in each district. In doing so, they would be able to strike a balance between resuming economic activities and disease control, he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had also proposed substantially different zoning procedures.
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