States present effective models of fighting COVID-19

Indian states present effective models of fighting coronavirus

Representative image/AFP Photo

While COVID-19 cases in India breached 31,000 mark and casualties crossed 1,000 four days before the end of the 40-day national lockdown, the country has seen the emergence of various local models confined in smaller regions with success stories attracting global attention.

The most talked-about of this is the Bhilwara model “ruthless containment” that drew the attention of even Modi. Borders were sealed when a doctor tested positive.

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District healthcare workers fanned out across Bhilwara, carried out aggressive surveillance, curfew was imposed at 34 places to ensure containment of the disease.

Two kilometres of the area around a coronavirus positive case was sealed.

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In Maharashtra, ‘Islampur pattern’ has emerged as a successful model that could be used in smaller towns. When four members of a family in Sangli, who returned from Saudi Arabia, were found coronavirus positive on March 23, it took just a week to get 22 more members of the family to develop COVID-19 symptoms.

In a fortnight’s time, all 26 patients, however, tested negative. All symptomatic contacts were put in isolation and tested while the asymptotic contacts were put in institutional quarantine. All low-risk contacts were home-quarantined.

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Since most of the cases were from the same locality, a one-km radius containment zone was created and over it a buffer zone. Islampur, which has a population of nearly 70,000 was totally cut off - and people remained where they are.

Modi praised the Himachal Pradesh model and asked other states to adopt it. The entire 7 million population of the state was screened for influenza-like symptoms under this exercise.

Tamil Nadu’s Erode district has also successfully contained the disease with the district having no active cases for now. Institutional quarantine of suspected patients, home isolation of their family members, immediate barricading of areas where positive patients lived etc helped here.

Kerala’s handling of COVID-19 cases, backed by a rigid protocol, including a 28-day quarantine to contain its spread, offers a model to others. Seizing passports of quarantine violators, fining those who wear no masks etc have helped.

(Inputs from Mrityunjay Bose, Arjun Raghunath and ETB Sivapriyan)