Amid the rising number of the novel coronavirus cases in India, the central government is planning to implement the ‘ruthless containment’ model adopted by Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district to control the spread of COVID-19, the Hindustan Times has reported.
Bhilwara district was among the most-affected places in India during the first phase of the COVID-19 outbreak with reporting zero positive COVID-19 cases on March 18 to 26 patients on March 30. However, since March 30, Bhilwara showed a turnaround with just one reported case till the date. Of the total 27 positive novel coronavirus cases detected in the Rajasthan district, 17 have been reportedly cured and 13 have been discharged.
Taking note of the containment in the district, India’s cabinet secretary Rajeev Gauba has praised Rajasthan for the ‘Bhilwara model’, said the report.
Now, the government is planning to implement this model in other places of the country as well for effective containment of the infection, Rajasthan chief secretary DB Gupta was quoted as saying.
How COVID-19 spread in Bhilwara?
The first reported case of coronavirus in Bhilwara was of a doctor at a private hospital who tested positive. After the first COVID-19 patient was reported in the district on March 19, the number of cases shot up within a very short time.
Most of the cases that had come up after the first reported infection were either of hospital staff or the patient who had gone for treatment at hospitals.
What is Bhilwara model of COVID-19 containment?
The Bhilwara COVID-19 containment model refers to the steps taken by the administration in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district to contain the disease after it emerged as a hotspot for coronavirus infection.
The containment model of Bhilwara worked in several phases, said the report citing Rajendra Bhatt, district collector, who led the team of government staff to control the spread of COVID-19. These are:
> Isolating the district
A curfew was imposed on the day the first case was reported in the district. This was from March 20 to April 2. During this period, essential services were exempted from the order. The local administration sealed the borders of the district and set up check posts at all entry and exit points, said Bhatt. Also, railway services were stopped and movement of private vehicles prohibited, he said.
In the second phase of curfew, even essential services are prohibited in the city. This was from April 3 to April 13. During this phase, the administration was ensuring door to door supply of essential items such as vegetables, fruits and milk to residents and food packets to the poor, said Bhatt.
> Screening strategy in city and rural areas
In the second step, the administration defined the containment zone of one km from the epicenter – the private hospital, whose doctors and staff were the first ones to test positive – and a buffer zone of three km. Similar, containment and buffer zones were also created around the house of a positive patient. Special teams were deployed for continuous screening of suspected cases in these areas, Bhatt was quoted as saying.
A screening and testing centre was established at a hospital, which was dedicated as ‘COVID hospital’, Bhatt told the publication. Government vehicles were arranged to bring people to these centres for screening and testing and dropping them back, he said.
> Quarantine and isolation wards
The district administration converted 1,541 rooms of 27 hotels as quarantine centres. Besides, it also had 11,659 quarantine beds in 22 institutions and hostels.
> Monitoring mechanism for city and rural areas
Corona fighters and corona captains were appointed in city and rural areas for monitoring, said Bhatt. In the city, the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) is the corona caption and ASHA and ANM are corona fighters.
In the villages, block development officers (BDO) and tehsildar are corona captains at the level of panchayat samitis, and sarpanch, panchayat sahayak, teachers and ASHAs are corona fighters, Bhatt added.
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