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Housing, resettlement societies fuel surge in cases across Delhi



Delhi has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases with a majority being reported from congested resettlement colonies and group housing societies where residents have not followed social distancing norms.

Deploying the rapid antigen testing kit, Delhi government is now conducting improved surveillance and contact tracing. The first indications reveal that there has been a spike in cases in south west district. The increase in number of containment zones also indicates that South West Delhi has been the worst hit. The number of containment zones has gone up by 41 between June 21 and 28. The areas contained include mostly in Dwarka, Najafgarh, Bijwasan and Palam.

Seeing the steadily rising cases, Delhi is now following a new containment policy decided last week at a meeting in home ministry. From containing entire 1 km radius area, the district surveillance teams are now containing streets for improved Covid-19 management. In March at the beginning of Covid-19 outbreak, the containment measures put down by the ministry of health and family welfare required the district surveillance team to identify the house or building where the most number of cases were. This house was taken as the focus point and then a 0.5 to 1 km radius physical area was marked and contained.

There was no movement of traffic allowed inside the perimeter marked by the team. However, this approach has now changed as the government has felt the need for better surveillance and contact tracing in the containment zone. Instead of this perimeter approach, the surveillance teams are now marking out streets. In case a house has a confirmed Covid-19 case, the street is contained and the teams now conduct house-to-house survey.

An official of directorate of health services said, “This has also helped us in conducting detailed serological survey of that area. In case of a street, we contain the street and then go house-to-house and conduct rapid antigen testing. In case a person is showing symptoms or has comorbidities and the antigen test is negative, we conduct RT-PCR test also. This helps in completely obliterating the chance of a false negative.” In case, an area reports more than 15 cases, a larger area is contained and an open public place like a community centre is identified to hold the screening.


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