Connaught Place, Lajpat Nagar, Laxmi Nagar among emerging Covid hot spots
Connaught Place, Lajpat Nagar, Model Town, Laxmi Nagar and Paschim Vihar are among 33 areas in Delhi that have been classified as “emerging hotspots” by the city administration to devise a targeted response system for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), senior government officials said on Tuesday.
Health officials said the hot spots have been identified based on the Covid-19 caseload in these areas. It comes as part of the Delhi government’s increased focus on micro-surveillance with active Covid-19 cases in the Capital increasing by over 170% in a month --- from 11,426 on August 21 to 30,941 on September 21.
The uptick in cases is mostly attributed to increased testing with the Delhi government conducting 135,723 tests per million as on Monday compared to 73,312 tests per million on August 21.
“After the meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Friday, the revenue department prepared a list of Covid-19 hot spots in each of the city’s 11 districts based on the number of cases recorded between September 1 and 16. It emerged that a lot of market areas or commercial hubs such as CP, Karol Bagh and South Extension have seen a spike in cases,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
Dr Puneet Mishra, professor of community medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said apart from the commercial hubs, areas such as Indraprastha Extension, Delhi Cantonment, Mukherjee Nagar and even the President’s Estate being classified as hot spots is a direct fallout of unlocking economic activities with people from the LIG, MIG and HIG (low, medium and high income group) categories have resuming their daily movements.
“The coronavirus disease is still at the community transmission stage now. In Delhi’s case, initially, Covid-19 had spread rapidly in congested areas such as Nabi Karim, Chandni Mahal and Okhla and parts of north-east Delhi. But, now it is spreading in the middle-class and upper middle-class localities because these people earlier remained in their homes and now have started moving out. It was inevitable,” Mishra said.
The report, seen by HT, shows that Rohini Sector 3 in the northwest district is the biggest hot spot with 2,192 Covid-19 cases. Rohini Sector 3 accounts for almost 43% of the total cases recorded in the northwest district, which is also a district which has the highest Covid-19 case load. The second biggest hot spot is Pitampura (1,739 cases) which is also part of northwest.
This is followed by Paschim Vihar in west Delhi with 1,101 cases and Uttam Nagar (1,071) in southwest Delhi. All the top four hot spots mostly have a middle class and upper middle-class residential colonies, with a few unauthorised colonies and slums.
Neha Bansal, district magistrate (west) said containment activities, testing and surveillance have been increased in Paschim Vihar, Hari Nagar and Tilak Nagar (including Vishnu Garden) - the three hot spots identified in the district.
“We are now conducting 6,000-7,000 Covid-19 tests daily and have a total of 231 containment zones in the west district. But, there are 3,691 total active cases in the west district of which only 911, about 25%, are in containment zones. So, it is in such cases that identifying hot spots help us. To reduce the spread of the virus we have stepped up enforcement,” she said.
Bansal added that in September the district administration alone prosecuted 7,301 people collecting Rs 35.08 lakh in fines imposed for violating Covid-19 rules such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distance or spitting in public.
Dr Lalit Kant, former head of epidemiology and infectious disease at ICMR, said identifying hot spots is the right strategy for Covid-19 management as it helps the district administration in executing a more focused response.
“It helps the administration intensify testing, case finding, isolation, tracking of contacts more quickly. Automatically, these areas then become the places where one will find a higher number of containment zones. It also helps in identifying and breaking down Covid-19 clusters,” he said.