A third of Delhi’s active cases in red zones, says fresh govt data
The data, accessed by HT, also shows some variations in how various regions of the city approach containment -- West Delhi’s Shahdara and the New Delhi revenue districts have over two-third of their active Covid-19 in containment zones.Updated: Oct 21, 2020, 02:07 IST
At least a third of the city’s 22,317 active Covid-19 cases were in containment zones as on October 18, compared to less than a fourth a month earlier, according to government data accessed that shows how a tweak in the strategy has allowed for more people to be under hard isolation at a time when outdoor activities have increased.
The data, accessed by HT, also shows some variations in how various regions of the city approach containment -- West Delhi’s Shahdara and the New Delhi revenue districts have over two-third of their active Covid-19 in containment zones.
In terms of absolute numbers of active cases in containment, northwest Delhi recorded the highest with 3,458 cases, followed by South Delhi at 2,937 cases.
HT reported on September 20 that 19% of active Covid-19 cases were located inside containment zones as on September 16.
District officials said the increase has been caused by a change in the containment zones strategy. Zones are now further compressed, at times to a single house unit. “Under the new policy, several residences which have more than one Covid-19 case in the family, assigned home isolation, have been notified as containment zones. The policy of micro containment zones has enabled districts to scatter containment zones to conform with the scattered nature of cases. So, there are more active cases inside containment zones now,” said a district surveillance official, who asked not to be identified.
Containment zones are in a hard lockdown, with access controlled and any business activity banned.
Dr Lalit Kant, former head of epidemiology and communicable diseases in the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said, “The change in containment zone policy is an administrative intervention. It is, however, difficult to ascertain what proportion of percentage increase in active Covid-19 cases within containment zones can be attributed to this administrative factor. In general, the trend suggests that there has been transmission within containment zones and the government has to scale up contact tracing and surveillance in containment zones.”
Dr Jacob John, former head of clinical virology department at Christian Medical College in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore said, “The 33% active Covid-19 in containment zones as of now against 19% around a month ago would not be a fair comparison in my opinion, largely because of the major change in policy as mentioned by the administration. The situation is similar to the sero-surveys conducted in Delhi, where change in sample selection methodologies led to significant diversion from expected trends concerning prevalence of antibodies. The Covid-19 curve across India is witnessing a downward trend – though at different rates in different states – and Delhi is no exception to that.”
According to Delhi revenue minister Kailash Gahlot, the government is “aggressively creating micro containment zones in order to break the chain of transmission at the earliest. The policy is to test, isolate and treat more people. However, it is important to mention that the focus of the government is on creating smaller containment zones so that fewer people are affected and more active cases can be brought under scaled-up surveillance. The status of the containment zones are periodically reviewed.”