Last week of COVID-19 lockdown: What challenges lie ahead and will it end soon?

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Updated: Apr 29, 2020 2:56 PM

According to the report, the number of orange districts have risen to 250 now from earlier 207 zones.

Hotspots, COVID-19 cases, coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus pandemic, green zones, red zones, hotspots, Integrated Disease Surveillance ProgrammeIt is to note that red zones are the ones where there are heavy loads of cases. (IE photo)

Tracking Coronavirus: With less than a week left to lift the nationwide lockdown, what comes as a good news is that the number of hotspots have reduced. The number of hotspots/ red zones which were earlier reported were 177 and this has now come down to 129 red zones, the IE reported. According to the report, the number of orange districts have risen to 250 now from earlier 207 zones. It further said that among these, around 20 hotspots account for more than 60 per cent of overall positive COVID-19 cases in the country. The report mentioned that this particular data is crucial as it will determine the basis of relaxations after May 3, when the lockdown is expected to be lifted.

It is to note that red zones are the ones where there are heavy loads of cases. Orange zone is the area where there has not been any rise in the number of cases in 14 days whereas the government has declared green zones as those areas that did not report any new case in 28 days. The criteria is expected to be revised after May 15, the report stated. While the number of cases have not increased that much in small cities, urban centres like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Indore, and Ahmedabad have many large clusters where the transmission rate has been high.

Further, the report said the number of districts with heavy load cases have increased. It explained that in the first week of April, there were only 7 districts that had more than 100 positive cases, however, the number of districts with heavy load cases has gone up to 24 come April 22. Even in low case load districts, the pattern is changing. With new districts also emerging with new cases, the report said, there is going to be dynamic battle ahead.

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The data provided by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) has revealed that around 85 districts did not report any new case in 14 days as of April 27. However, the report underlined that a scrutiny of the district names announced by the PIB via COVID-19 bulletins in the month of April depicts that the composition of the list has been changing. Recently, two districts- SBS Nagar in Punjab and Pilibhit in UP, have recorded fresh cases this week. The new cases were declared a week after they were declared Coronavirus free on April 23 as no new COVID-19 case emerged in 21 days. The reported stressed that there are 38 districts that did not report any case in 14 days and were a part of the above mentioned 85 districts. But with the changing dynamics, they were no longer part of IDSP’s list as of April 27. Moreover, all these 85 districts only accounted for 2 per cent of overall cases that is 18,985 cases on April 22.

From the data gathered, the IE report implied that emergence of new case even after the place did not see any rise for up to 28 days, indicates that the halt in outbreak offers no assurance. Even the places that have not seen any new case, should lower its guard cautiously. The central government in its containment plan for Coronavirus has stated that if there are no new COVID-19 positive cases for 28 days, “containment operation would be deemed over.” In such a scenario, where cases are emerging after 28 days of no show, the battle against Coronavirus will require constant vigilance, the report said citing the Prime Minister’s statement to Chief Ministers in a recent meeting. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been quoted as saying that the impact of COVID-19 will remain visible even for next few months and that it should be a top priority for states directed the states to keep their focus on turning their red zones into orange and ultimately into a green zone.

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