Lessons from coronavirus pandemic: Government releases ‘containment plan’ for large outbreaks

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Published: April 5, 2020 6:52:32 PM

The government further stated that after the sample is taken, test results are expected to come within 12-24 hours.

One of the ways in which the ministry has said that the containment can be done is via geographic quarantine method.

The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus across the world has affected around 1 million people. This has impacted India as well where more than 3,000 positive cases have been reported and more than 70 people have died. Assessing the risk and strategic approach to combat COVID-19 infection, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released a containment plan for large outbreaks like Coronavirus. Discussing the approach, the document highlights the actions that are required for containment. The government has said that the objective of the document is to “stop the chain of transmission thus reducing the morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19.”

One of the ways in which the ministry has said that the containment can be done is via geographic quarantine method. With clusters emerging in many states of Indian subcontinent, the government has laid down an action plan, which, among other methods of containment, makes a case for geographic quarantine. Below mentioned are some actions earnarked for geographic containment.

  • The central government along with the state government will review the legal instruments that are existing so legal support can be provided for implementation and execution of the containment plan.
  • If a defined area witnesses an increase in COVID-19 cases, early action will be taken for commoners that will include early warning and response (EWAR) systems. This will help in identifying all threats. Lab based surveillance will be done routinely in these areas.
  • The Health Ministry along with the Emergency Medical Relief (EMR) division will be deploying the Central Rapid Response Team (RRT) in order to support as well as advise the states when dealing with Coronavirus cases. The states are also expected to deploy their own state and district RRTs.
  • The government will work on identifying clusters and areas that are at maximum risks. The idea is to divide an area into containment and buffer zones. Containment zones will be the areas where there are Coronavirus cases while buffer zones will be the areas that will be adjoined to the containment zone.

Apart from the geographic quarantine approach, the government also highlights performing pf surveillance and mapping the outbreak. With the results, perimeters will be set by the state government and measures will be taken to mitigate the impact.

The government further stated that after the sample is taken, test results are expected to come within 12-24 hours. All testing labs will be taking tests of all individuals with travel history and are showing symptoms, contacts (symptomatic and asymptomatic) of those individuals who are tested positive, and patients who are hospitalised for Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI). It will also test recovered patients for the next 14 days after their result came out as negative.

For hospital care, the government will be making temporary hospitals operational if there is a rapid surge in cases. Apart from this, the number of personnel, ambulances, test kits and testing labs will be increased. Meanwhile, the government has issued advisories on psychological support for people. It has also informed about the pharmaceutical inventions and equipments to be used by doctors and health care professionals.

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