The Union Health Ministry in the daily briefing on Wednesday elaborated on the strategy of the government to combat the COVID-19 epidemic in India. It said that districts in the country will be classified into three categories based on the level of novel Coronavirus contamination. So far, 170 districts have been declared COVID hotspots.
"The districts of the country will be classified into three categories — hotspot districts, non-hotspot districts but where cases are being reported and green zone districts. Hotspot districts will be those where either large number of cases are being reported or where the rate of growth of COVID-19 cases is high (or in other words, doubling time is low)," Joint Secretary for Health, Lav Aggarwal said.
Movement will not be allowed in containment zones except for those related with essential services. Special teams will search for new cases and samples will be collected and tested as per sampling criteria. - @MoHFW_INDIA â¡ï¸https://t.co/D05Pgshl4r #IndiaFightsCorona— PIB India ð®ð³ #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 15, 2020
The officials informed that Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba held a video conference on Wednesday with all State Chief Secretaries, DGPs, Health Secretaries, District Collectors, SPs, Municipal Commissioners and Chief Medical Officers where hotspots were discussed and orientation on field level implementation of containment strategy was given.
"Large outbreak and cluster outbreak containment strategy, delineation of buffer and containment zone, parameter mapping, defining of entry and exit points were discussed in detail," Aggarwal said. He added that in containment zones, samples will be collected and tested according to the criteria while in "buffer zones", that lay outside containment areas, health facilities will be oriented and people facing SARS and influenza-like symptoms will be tested.
The Health Ministry also said that even in those districts which don't have COVID-19 cases (green zones), community engagement needs to be undertaken to upgrade health infrastructure and dedicated COVID Hospitals need to be set up. Monitoring and testing of cases with SARS and flu-like symptoms would need to be done. This is to ensure that cases don't spring up in these green zones.
The Health Ministry reiterated that the COVID-19 outbreak has not yet reached the 'community transmission stage' and that only local outbreaks have been reported. The joint secretary informed that newly procured PPEs have been sent to different States.
Speaking about Coronavirus cases, Lav Aggarwal said, "1306 patients have recovered of which 270 happened in the last 24 hours. So far, there are 11,439 cases. 1,076 new cases were reported since yesterday. 377 people have so far died."