Re­vamped ac­tion plan for Delhi to fight virus

Shah, Ke­jri­wal, LG de­cide to tighten con­tain­ment

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTSPOTLIGH­T - Saub­hadra Chat­terji and Neeraj Chauhan let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

New Delhi: The Cen­tre and the Delhi gov­ern­ment agreed on Sun­day to re­vamp the ac­tion plan to con­trol the spread of the coro­n­avirus dis­ease (Covid-19) in the na­tional cap­i­tal, lay­ing em­pha­sis on the need for more ef­fec­tive con­tain­ment and trac­ing ef­forts, widen­ing the scope of de­tect­ing in­fec­tions and in­ten­si­fy­ing so­cial dis­tanc­ing and sur­veil­lance at the ground level to tackle the out­break at a time when the case count has risen to 59,746.

Union home min­is­ter Amit Shah chaired a meet­ing at­tended by Delhi chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal, deputy CM Man­ish Siso­dia, lieu­tenant gov­er­nor Anil Bai­jal, Union health min­is­ter Harsh Vard­han and other se­nior of­fi­cials to dis­cuss the ac­tion plan. The strat­egy has been pre­pared in con­sul­ta­tion with AIIMS di­rec­tor Dr Ran­deep Gu­le­ria, In­dian Coun­cil of Med­i­cal Re­search (ICMR) di­rec­tor gen­eral Dr Bal­ram Bhar­gava and Niti Aayog mem­ber Dr VK Paul, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple aware of the de­vel­op­ments.

An of­fi­cial, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said five key rec­om­men­da­tions were: an im­proved con­tain­ment tac­tic; wider trac­ing of a pa­tient’s con­tacts; rapid an­ti­body test­ing to gauge the preva­lence of the dis­ease; close in­volve­ment of the po­lice to en­force so­cial dis­tanc­ing norms; and in­clu­sion of epi­demi­ol­o­gists at the district level to aug­ment the health care ef­forts. The Delhi Po­lice com­mis­sioner will spear­head ef­forts to im­pose fines on peo­ple vi­o­lat­ing norms on so­cial dis­tanc­ing and wear­ing face masks. “The de­tailed dis­cus­sions were needed as there is a need to have a fool­proof im­ple­men­ta­tion of this plan. Var­i­ous lay­ers of the gov­ern­ment ma­chin­ery will be in­volved in the im­ple­men­ta­tion stage. We need smooth co­or­di­na­tion as well as good man­age­ment,” the of­fi­cial said. Shah has held a se­ries of meet­ings with Bai­jal, Ke­jri­wal and se­nior of­fi­cials over the past week over the strat­egy to aug­ment Delhi’s health care in­fra­struc­ture amid the Covid-19 out­break. The in­fec­tious dis­ease has so far killed 2,175 peo­ple in Delhi, with 31% of the to­tal cases in the Cap­i­tal be­ing re­ported over the last week. The cen­tral gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said at the meet­ing that Delhi ac­counted for 24% of all new cases and 25% of the Covid-19 deaths re­ported in the coun­try in the last two days, adding that there was a need to over­haul the strat­egy in the Cap­i­tal. As part of the ac­tion plan, the Delhi gov­ern­ment will re­vamp the way it de­cides con­tain­ment zones and sets their bound­aries, a sec­ond of­fi­cial present at the meet­ing said, ask­ing not to be named.

A high-level com­mit­tee led by

Dr Paul has given a time­line un­der which the Delhi gov­ern­ment will pre­pare a strat­egy by Mon­day and form district-level teams by Tues­day to re­vise the strat­egy by June 26. The com­mit­tee said that there should be 100% sur­vey of all con­tain­ment zones by June 30, and by July 6, there should be an ex­ten­sive sur­vey of the en­tire Cap­i­tal, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by the home min­istry.

As of Sun­day night, there were 261 con­tain­ment zones in Delhi. Strict perime­ter con­trol is main­tained in the con­tain­ment zones, with re­stric­tions on the move­ment of peo­ple. While the dis­cus­sions ac­knowl­edged that Delhi’s con­tact-trac­ing ef­forts showed good re­sults in early days of the out­break, a de­ci­sion was taken to ex­pand the trac­ing be­yond fam­ily mem­bers of an in­fected per­son, the of­fi­cial said. “So, both con­tact­trac­ing and sur­veil­lance has to im­prove and for this pur­pose, the fac­ulty and 3rd and 4th year stu­dents of Delhi hos­pi­tals will be en­gaged,” said the of­fi­cial.

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