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Three villages in Nuh manage to keep coronavirus at bay

Amid the surge and fall in Covid-19 cases since last year when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, three of 443 villages in Nuh district have remained free from the infection so far
By Leena Dhankhar, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON JUN 05, 2021 08:35 PM IST

Amid the surge and fall in Covid-19 cases since last year when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, three of 443 villages in Nuh district have remained free from the infection so far. Not a single case of Covid-19 has been recorded among the 40,000 population that live in 10,000 households across these villages, officials familiar with the matter said.

Sampling and random testing of more than 1,000 residents in the villages of Jharokheda, Andhaki and Patakpur were done last year as well as this year, with all samples testing negative, according to officials.

Nuh deputy commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata credited the villagers and health teams for following Covid-appropriate behaviour and regular monitoring. He said that visitors were banned since last year and those travelling outside were mandated to quarantine for 14 days upon their return. “We have report cards of all the 443 villages in the district. Around 55 villages have fewer than or up to five cases. But, these three villages have not reported even a single case to date. These villages are mainly from remote parts of the district,” he said.

Shabbir Ahmad, the sarpanch of Jharokheda village, said that the 4,500-odd villagers have managed to stay protected by maintaining social distancing and regular sanitising of the common areas. “We are completely dependent on our own farming and no outsourcing of goods was done since last April. We are growing vegetables and are ensuring that villagers do not step out of the village. We are not allowing relatives or outsiders to enter. People who were working outside majorly worked from home and those who were in private jobs and other cities were not allowed unless they carried negative reports. Also, quarantine in farms was set up for those stepping out in case of emergencies,” he said.

The district administration has been surveying the villages regularly to assess residents’ health.

The villages have small grocery shops and the products brought in from markets and warehouses were sanitised and kept in the open for a day before starting sales, said officials.

Mahendar Singh, the sarpanch of Andhaki village, said that they have been growing vegetables, grains and other daily essentials to avoid contact with outsiders. This year, the villagers grew tomatoes, brinjal, pumpkins, onions, garlic and other vegetables. “For dairy products, those who do not have any means were given milk and buttermilk by their neighbours so that they do not have to buy from outside. We have many who work as drivers in our village. They lived in the fields and regular testing was done to check if they were infected,” he said.

Andhaki has a population of 2,500 people, including children.

Khadgata termed this as a success story of the villages. “These model villages kept strict vigil, followed Covid-appropriate behaviour and ensured all the families wore face masks and areas were sanitized regularly. The administration regularly supplied sanitisers and face masks to them and a weekly report was taken from the sarpanch on the supply,” he said.

A common rule followed by these villages was to restrict outsiders, minimise the import of goods that subsequently led to healthier diets. All children were asked to wash their hands regularly and soaps were distributed, said officials.

Chaudhary Samsuddin Khan, the sarpanch of Patakpur village which has a population of 28,000 villagers, said that they did not allow children and senior citizens at community events. Regular health camps were organised and timely vaccination was done. “Even officials from the district administration and health workers entering the village were asked to undergo sanitisation during both waves. If there was an emergency, then the villager was kept in farm quarantine, with food delivered to them and other arrangements being taken care of by the panchayat for seven days,” he said.

Khan said that all roads were blocked by the panchayat and no vehicles were allowed in the village, with parking allowed a kilometre away. Also, health workers were not allowed to enter the village after 4pm, he said.

In Gurugram district, at least 13 of the 156 villages have been successful in keeping Covid-19 at bay, according to an ongoing door-to-door survey in rural blocks. Not a single positive case has been detected in these villages since May 15, according to the Gurugram administration data. “Out of the 73 villages in Pataudi block, 48 in Farrukhnagar, and 35 in Sohna, seven, four and two villages, respectively, did not report any Covid-19 case,” said Narendra Sarwan, district development and panchayat officer.

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