States, Union Territories to demarcate zones
The Centre transferred powers to states and Union Territories to demarcate red, orange, and green zones for carrying out Covid-19 containment activities from Monday, according to a letter by home secretary Ajay Bhalla to chief secretaries of all states. “Under the new guidelines effective from 18th May 2020, states and UTs will now categorise red, orange, and green zones taking into consideration the revised guidelines issued by the ministry of health and family welfare,” the letter stated.
The revised guidelines issued by Union health secretary Preeti Sudan said that districts, municipal corporations or even sub-divisions, wards or any other administrative unit may be categorised as red, orange or green zone after analysis. The decision has to be taken after analysing the geographical spread of cases, contacts and their zone of influence in terms of disease spread.
So far, districts as a whole were categorised as red, orange, or green zones by the Union health ministry.
To demarcate the zones, the local government will have to keep in mind the total active number of cases, active cases per 100,000 population, doubling rate over seven days period, case fatality rate, number of tests per lakh population, and sample positivity rate.
According to the revised guidelines, a total active case count of over 200 will be considered critical and zero or no cases reported in the last 21 days is desirable. More than 15 active cases per 100,000 population will be considered critical.
A doubling rate of less than 14 days will be considered critical and that of more than 28 days is desirable. The case fatality rate of more than 6% will be considered critical for the analysis with less than 1% being desirable. Less than 65 tests per lakh population is critical and more than 200 is desirable. A sample positivity rate of more than 6% will be considered critical and less than 2% will be considered desirable, according to the revised guidelines.
Within these red, orange and green zones, containment and buffer zones will have to be identified for stringent action such as door-to-door surveillance, contact tracing, and strict enforcement of social distancing.