Villagers maintaining vigil to keep check on movement at a village in Haryana’s Rewari district.(HT PHOTO)
Villagers maintaining vigil to keep check on movement at a village in Haryana’s Rewari district.(HT PHOTO)

How timely action, strict vigil helped these 3 Haryana districts in keeping virus at bay

Sealing of borders, social distancing and ‘exemplary’ cooperation of locals enabled Jhajjar, Rewari and Mahendergarh to achieve this feat
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Rajesh Moudgil, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON APR 22, 2020 12:12 AM IST

Strict vigil and extra caution seem to have so far helped three districts of Haryana — Jhajjar, Rewari and Mahendergarh — in steering clear of Covid-19, despite their proximity to coronavirus hotspots in Delhi and Rajasthan.

It was in the second week of March, even before the virus began to spread its tentacles in Haryana, when the local administrations and residents started gearing up and joined hands to seal borders, implement ‘thikri pehra’ (patrolling by people) in rural and urban areas, restrict movement of people and focus on social distancing.

The result: These three districts managed to remain Covid-free so far.

Situated right on the border of Delhi, Haryana’s Jhajjar faced the immediate threat from the national capital as well as Gurugram.

“We not only sealed all borders with Delhi, but also secured interstate perimeters. There, our police and health teams — equipped with thermal scanners — kept tabs on each and every person’s entry and exit, noting down their details. We took prompt actions and kept track of Jhajjar residents’ visits to any place (such as Delhi) from where positive cases were being reported,” Jhajjar deputy commissioner (DC) Jitender Singh said.

The district also had 52 people with Tablighi links, who were immediately quarantined and tested. “Nobody was found infected,” he added.

The administration, with the help of industrial houses, wholesalers and milk suppliers, formed groups and ensured minimum movement of people as well as provision of food, shelter and other essentials to about 65,000 industrial and 56,000 brick-kiln workers in the district.

Rewari, too, faced a direct threat of virus spread as its borders touch Gurugram as well as Rajasthan, both Covid-19 hotspots. “Rewari of Haryana and Bhiwadi of Rajasthan have several villages which share their boundaries with each other,” Rewari DC Yashendra Singh said, adding that it was also interesting to note that some of the positive cases from neighbouring district Bhiwadi came to Rewari’s village health centres for treatment.

We declared those areas containment zones and also tested all health staffers, he added.

Quick quiz on corona came in handy

Apart from round-the-clock screening on 21 entry and exit points, the Rewari administration focused on awareness and ‘thikri pehras’ in urban and rural areas. The DC said though uncertainty loomed large over exams, all private and government schools were asked to advise their students to come prepared for questions on ‘Covid-19 – Causes, Symptoms and Prevention’.

“This exercise acted as an awareness drive, which worked well for students as well as their parents,” he added.

Several officials and residents of Mahendergarh with whom HT spoke to also cited constant fear they faced due to their proximity with Rajasthan.

It was, thus, imperative to effectively seal all three borders the district shared with the neighbouring state before it was too late, they said.

Mahendergarh DC Jagdish Sharma explained how they decongested the crowded areas, shifted main grain markets of Nangal Chaudhary, Mahendergarh and Narnaul out of the city limits and even scattered a few others.

“There also were 82 people who had returned from abroad. All of them as well as their contacts were quarantined well in time,” he said, while appreciating the ‘exemplary’ cooperation of locals.

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