‘My team and I didn’t go home for 7 days’: Bhilwara DM on Covid-19 containment model
A couple of weeks ago, Bhilwara had at least 26 Covid-19 positive cases but after the district administration stepped in now the town has reported only one positive Covid-19 case. District Magistrate Rajendra Bhatt who was at the helm of the containment efforts has been credited with the ruthless containment strategy that Bhilwara followed.Updated: Apr 11, 2020 17:03 IST
Rajasthan’s Bhilwara was one of the first Covid-19 clusters to be identified in the country and was placed under total lockdown by the state to contain the spread of coronavirus. From being a coronavirus hotspot, Bhilwara, about 250 km south of state capital Jaipur, is now being talked about for its ‘ruthless containment’ model as administrations elsewhere are following the steps taken by the district’s authorities.
A couple of weeks ago, Bhilwara had at least 26 Covid-19 positive cases but after the district administration stepped in now the town has reported only one positive Covid-19 case. District Magistrate Rajendra Bhatt who was at the helm of the containment efforts has been credited with the ruthless containment strategy that Bhilwara followed.
“Strict measures were the need of the hour. We needed to break the chain. It is still premature to call it a success. For the first seven days we…many of my colleagues and I did not go home when the disease started spreading. The first seven days were extremely hectic for all of us. But, we had the full support and cooperation of the state government,” Bhatt said.
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In Bhilwara, the district administration has managed to contain the spread of the virus through intense screening and imposition of strict curfew, while in neighbouring Ramganj, the number of coronavirus cases has been constantly increasing.
“We realized Bhilwara’s borders needed to be sealed. We adopted a policy of ruthless containment and isolation. We isolated the district totally. No passenger trains were allowed to stop at Bhilwara and residents could not exit the town either. Mapping of clusters and aggressive contact tracing was done to stop the spread of the disease,” the DM said.
“People who had termed Bhilwara as the ‘Wuhan’ of India were not wrong. Our doctors have seen more than 700 patients in the town. We have records of that. But we do not have records of the 4000 patients whom they have diagnosed at home. We had nearly 2500 teams making door-to-door surveys and quarantining people. Their contacts were traced and at the same time a number of hotels were also converted into quarantine centres. Our district hospital which is the biggest was converted and became a nodal point to fight the pandemic,” the District Magistrate revealed.
However, for the 56-year-old collector/district magistrate, who was in charge of implementing the containment plan and has been credited with its conceptualization, success is still quite far away. He is cautious about declaring victory just yet and has hopes that he and his team will be able to contain the pandemic so that the industrial town of Bhilwara becomes Covid-19 free.