The Union health ministry has designated all major metropolitan cities—Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad—as red zones after the lockdown ends on May 3, and asked states and local bodies to demarcate containment areas and buffer zones for strict monitoring of movement.

In a letter to chief secretaries of all states and union territories, Union health secretary Preeti Sudan gave a list of 130 red zones, 284 orange zones and 319 green zones at the district level across the country for containment operations. Mint has viewed a copy of the letter.

“In the spirit of effective containment, it is advisable to err on the side of caution. Further, a buffer zone around containment zone has to be demarcated,” Sudan added.

Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have the highest number of red zones at 19 and 14 respectively, followed by Tamil Nadu at 12 and all of Delhi’s 11 districts marked as red zones.

Among Delhi’s suburbs, Faridabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Meerut have been classified as red zones, while Gurgaon and Ghaziabad have been classified as an orange zone. All of Mumbai’s suburban areas have been classified as red zones.

Both Bengaluru urban and rural areas as well as Mysuru have been classified as red zones.

While in urban districts, containment zones will be demarcated on the basis of residential colony, mohallas, municipal wards, police-station area, municipal zones, or towns, in rural areas these zones will be based on villages, clusters of villages, gram panchayats, among others, Sudan said in the letter.

“All States are accordingly requested to delineate the containment zones and buffer zones in the identified red and orange zone districts and notify the same,” Sudan said.

In all these containment areas, Sudan has directed stringent perimeter control with measures such as establishing clear entry and exit points, no movement except for medical emergencies and essential goods and services, no unchecked influx of population, active search for cases through house to house surveillance, testing of all cases, contact tracing and clinical management of all confirmed cases.

In buffer zones, extensive surveillance for cases through monitoring of cases of influenza-like illnesses and severe acute respiratory infections in health facilities have to be taken up, Sudan said.

For the districts having one or more municipal corporations, the Centre has allowed states to treat municipal corporations and other areas of districts as separate units.

If one or more of these units have reported no cases for last 21 days, they can be considered as one level lower in zonal classiflcation, in case the district is in red or orange zone. District authorities should, however, exercise due caution in such areas so that these areas remain free from covid-19 cases.

“The list will be revised on a weekly basis or earlier and communicated to states for further follow-up action in consonance with the directions issued by Ministry of Home Affairs under the Disaster Management Act, 2005,” Sudan said in the letter.

News Source: Livemint


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