Of the 15 municipal zones of Chennai, 13 have at least one Covid-19 positive case. The city has recorded at least 163 cases of the 834 in the state, as on April 9. The worst affected areas are in the northern neighbourhoods of the city, home to large fishing colonies and industrial workers’ settlements.
In Chennai, the containment zones are two-layered. Within 9 large containment zones, there are about 70 smaller containment clusters in the immediate vicinity of those who’ve tested positive for Covid-19. Each containment zone has a protective radius of five kilometres where movement of people is restricted and disinfectant is sprayed regularly. However, with the rapid surge in cases, the Chennai municipal authorities say they are treating the entire city as a containment zone. Here’s what goes on inside the containment zones of Arumbakkam, Purasawalkam, Santhome, Virugambakkam, Saidapet, West Mambalam, Porur, Alandur and Kotturpuram.
1.Mass surveillance: Nearly 2,500 houses in the containment clusters or those adjoining that of any Covid-19 positive individual are monitored for symptoms on a daily basis by Chennai Corporation’s workers, like anganwadi workers. If one is found with symptoms (dry cough, fever, difficulty breathing), a medical team is rushed to the spot and based on the person’s symptom type and clinical and contact history, a decision is made whether to isolate them at home or take them to the hospital. All health workers, including those newly recruited from self-help groups, carry identification cards on them at all times.
2. Perimeter control: The containment clusters are pretty much sealed off. People can’t come in or go out; all essential supplies are door delivered.
3. Passive Surveillance: According to Alby John Varghese, regional deputy commissioner (south), Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), there is constant communication through mobile public address systems on preventive measures inside containment zones.Medical camps too have been set up in the containment zones.
4.Disinfection: Mass disinfection is carried out everyday in containment zones and clusters.
5. Contact tracing: The containment cluster is where the probability of the spread of Covid-19 the highest. Thus, all possible contacts of an ‘index case’ are identified and listed. They are put under hospital quarantine using ambulances that have been kept on standby exclusively of Covid-19 cases.
TR Vivek is a Bengaluru-based writer
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