New Delhi, April 5: The Health Ministry has released an aggressive containment plan for large outbreaks of COVID-19, which includes buffer zones and sealing off areas for nearly a month. The government made the containment plan after clusters posing high risk of further spread of COVID-19 emerged in several states.
The strategy is meant to contain the highly contagious disease caused by a novel coronavirus, first detected in China in December, within a defined geographical area by early detection of cases, breaking the chain of transmission and thus preventing its spread to new areas. A novel virus is one that has not been previously identified in humans.
The 20-page document says the aggressive containment strategy will be scaled down only if no new cases of COVID-19 are reported for at least four weeks after the last confirmed test.
Some of the steps the government seeks to take include sealing containment areas and stopping movement of people in and out of these areas.
All suspect and confirmed COVID-19 cases will be hospitalised and kept in isolation in hospitals dedicated to fighting the coronavirus, says the document available on the Health Ministry’s website.
Patients will be discharged only if two samples test negative for coronavirus. Those with mild symptoms will be quarantined in stadiums, those having moderate symptoms will be admitted to hospitals meant for COVID-19 care, and those with severe symptoms will be sent to tertiary or advanced hospitals.
Another step mentioned in the strategy is closure of schools, colleges and offices in containment and buffer zones. There will be no public and private transport in these areas. Only essential services will be allowed to move.
The containment plan will be eased if no COVID-19 cases are reported from the quarantine zone for at least four weeks after the last confirmed test.
The Health Ministry document says the geographic distribution of COVID-19 mimics the distribution of H1N1 pandemic influenza, which suggests that while the spread of COVID-19 in the population could be high, it’s unlikely that it will be uniformly affect all parts of the country.
“This calls for differential approach to different regions of the country, while mounting a strong containment effort in hotspots,” the document says.
Large-scale measures to contain COVID-19 over large territories have been tried in China. Mathematical modelling studies have suggested that containment might be possible especially when other public health interventions are combined with an effective social distancing strategy.
At all times doctors, nurses and paramedics working in clinical areas will wear three-layered surgical mask and gloves.
Seventy-nine people have died in India after being infected with COVID-19, the Health Ministry said today, adding that the country recorded 472 cases in last 24 hours that takes the total to 3,374.
India recorded the highest number of cases (601) and deaths (12) on Friday amid an unprecedented surge in the COVID-19 count over the last week linked to a controversial religious gathering in Delhi. (NDTV)