Containment zones remain on paper in Chandigarh
The Chandigarh administration on Monday declared 49 more micro-containment zones, taking the total to close to 200.
Amid an unprecedented growth in Covid-19 cases, the Centre has been insisting on creation of localised containment zones to restrict the spread of infection.
However, a reality check done by Hindustan Times on Monday revealed that unlike the first wave of pandemic, when strict perimeter control was observed across containment zones, this time around there is extreme laxity in enforcement.
While affected houses in Sector 33 were barricaded and residents were not allowed to venture out by two district administration employees deployed there, in Sectors 22 and 23, there was no barricading or restrictions. According to the administration’s April 13 order, wherein these areas were declared micro-containment zones, the curbs are to last till April 30.
One of the residents in Sector 23 even came out of the house to talk to this correspondent. When asked why there were no barricades, the resident, requesting anonymity, said: “We are no longer part of the containment zone.” A resident of the neighbouring house, also declared a micro-containment zone, said: “No barricades were erected here. Anyway, my parents have now tested negative; so there is no such requirement.”
At houses in Sector 22, residents confirmed that there is no perimeter control. “But we don’t go outside the house as we have been told not to,” said one.
During the first wave in September 2020, when active cases had peaked at 3,171, the administration was deploying police to strictly enforce the containment zone restrictions. Now, when the active cases stand at 3,804, there were zones in Sectors 22, 23 and 35 where not a single personnel, either from the administration or from police, was posted to enforce the curbs.
Dr Rajesh Ahuja, former head of the department of community medicine and public health, PGIMER, said: “Strict perimeter control is very crucial to achieve full benefits of the containment zone.”
According to the central guidelines, the local district, police and municipal authorities are responsible to ensure that the prescribed containment measures are strictly followed. There has to be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services.
UT adviser Manoj Parida said: “It is the failure of officials concerned. We will get it checked and rectified. There should be strict perimeter control at containment zones.”