COVID-19: Three strategies for 3 hotspots! How Agra, Bhilwara, Pathanamthitta models work; details

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April 13, 2020 3:02 PM

India’s 3 model approach at three places! What strategies the country is following to contain the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus?

Three models have emerged to be successful for cluster containment.

Coronavirus Outbreak: India’s 3 model approach at three places! What strategies the country is following to contain the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus? At a time when India has more than 9,000 COVID-19 positive cases, the state governments have been implementing their own models depending on what seems fit for them in order to combat the deadly virus. Out of these, three models have emerged to be successful for cluster containment. These are applicable to Pathanamthitta in Kerala, Agra in Uttar Pradesh and Bhilwara in Rajasthan.

These models have also been discussed in high level meetings that have been held with states in the last one week, according to a report by the IE. The report said that the central government also showcased one in the press briefing that was held. The approach to combat COVID-19 infection has been different by all three cities/ districts. In fact, health policy experts believe that in a country like India, there is not one size that can fit all the states or cities, the report said. Below discussed are the practises adopted by the governments to curb the impact of the novel Coronavirus.

Pathanamthitta model for COVID-19 in Kerala

Kerala opted for a model which ran on technology for its district Pathanamthitta. After the first case was reported in early March, the state created a database of all those who had entered the district. This helped the official reach out to people easily in case it was required. Other than that, it created a route map of the family that first contracted Coronavirus. The route map, in the form of graphics, helped other people to know about the family’s past whereabouts and led them to self report if they had been in touch. It is to note that the three-member family had come from Italy and infected the relatives as well.

All those who followed the route map, got themselves screened and tested which led to early detection of possible cases in the district. All those, who were asked to quarantine themselves, were given a call daily to check up on them. Around 4,000 people who had entered the district were checked upon. Apart from this, contact tracing and border screening were done as well.

Technology, being the hallmark of Pathanamthitta model, was used extensively. An application called CoronaRM was also used, especially for those, who were put under quarantine. The app helped identify the whereabouts of quarantined people so if they broke it, they could be tracked easily. As a result, the number of new cases has slowed down to a single-digit rise in the last 5-6 days.

Agra model for COVID-19 in Uttar Pradesh

Agra city in Uttar Pradesh has a high density population and congested areas. When the first case broke out in the city (which was the same person who was the first case in Delhi too), it quickly transmitted to six other people. On this, the authorities acted and laid down a “massive combing operation.” With the help of the district administration and Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme personnel, an area with a radius of 3km in Lohamandi was surrounded by guards who prevented people from going to the area. According to the report by the IE, the intensive operation of tracing 1,65,000 households was performed by 1,248 teams.

Under the cluster, the state and district administration were able to identify epicentres and started working on flattening the graph of new cases. They also deployed a special task force under a micro plan which was laid for the district. While areas within 3km radius were termed as epicentre, the area with 5 km of radius was identified as buffer zone. The contact tracing was thoroughly mapped and eventually 9.3 lakh people were screened.

What makes this model crucial as the approach was laid down in an area with high density of people and it turned out to be effective. It has been one of the earliest cases of community transmission.

Bhilwara model for COVID-19 in Rajasthan

Another effective model to curb the spread of Coronavirus was the Bhilwara model. Bhilwara was one of the hotspots in Rajasthan and implemented a strategy that is rather termed as ‘ruthless.’ The district’s number of positive COVID-19 cases increased within a week with a majority of hospital staff and patients being infected.

Moreover, the doctors had come in contact with many before they were tested positive for Coronavirus. This led to a crisis in the state leading to the district made completely isolated. The isolation was implemented in two states. In the first state, while citizen movement was restricted, essential services were still allowed. However, with the commencement of the second phase, the government officials shut down the borders of the district and set up their posts on every entry and exit. In this, essentials like food, groceries, and milk were delivered door to door while raw and cooked food packages were given to the poor and needy.

Not only this particular district but the District Magistrates of neighbouring districts were also asked to close their borders. As the cluster mapping was done, the buffer zone which was up to 7 km of the state, witnessed no movement. Some special teams were deployed that led the continuous screening of all those who were the suspected cases. Apart from this, police stations, public offices, screening and quarantine centres were disinfected every day.

With the screening process, 2,14,647 households were surveyed where 4,258 cases had influenza-like symptoms. For treatment, the government had acquired four private hospitals and set up a quarantine centre in 27 hotels. Currently, Bhilwara has reported 28 positive cases, according to Health Ministry data.

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