Andhra begins eight-day exercise to quarantine containment zones as Covid-19 cases rise

From 21 cases on March 29, they rose to 87 on April 1; 132 on April 2 and nearly doubled to 252 by April 6.

Faced with the prospect of hundreds of Covid-19 cases surfacing in the coming weeks, Andhra Pradesh Government has launched an extensive drive to sanitise zones where the cases have been detected, and introduced extra precautionary measures to prevent community transmission.

The sanitation and safety measures are being taken on a war-footing as the number of Covid-19 cases have started to rise drastically in the State where three Covid-19 deaths have also been reported. From 21 cases on March 29, they rose to 87 on April 1; 132 on April 2 and nearly doubled to 252 by April 6. The worst affected districts are Kunool with 56 cases; Nellore with 34 cases, and Guntur with 32 cases.

“When a positive case or a suspected case with severe symptoms is reported at any place, proper sanitation of nearby areas and extra precautionary measures are being undertaken by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19. The area where the positive case is reported from is treated as the containment area with a 5km radius zone. Residents within the containment zone aren’t allowed to step out even during the relaxation period from 6 am to 11am. All essentials are delivered to their respective doorsteps by volunteers.

“A buffer zone is established within a 3 km radius outside the containment zone. Sodium hypochlorite solution is sprayed both in the containment as well as buffer zone. Besides this, super sanitation involving spraying of bleaching and lime mixture, garbage disposal, cleaning of drains, fogging, bush cutting, are also undertaken,” Health Minister A Krishna Srinivas said.

Two special teams have been assigned to each containment zone to take care of the residents who aren’t allowed to step out. After establishing the buffer zone, authorities stick a QR code outside each residence for daily attendance. A medical team headed by the MPDO (Mandal Parishad Development Officer) is responsible for monitoring each household and enquiring about the health and well-being of each of the residents. A sanitation team headed by the Panchayati secretary is responsible for day-to-day sanitation of the zone.

The authorities are following a strict eight-day procedure to completely sanitise the area where a Covid-19 positive case is reported. On day one, workers spray malathion pesticide in the drains, conduct fogging, flush out stagnant water from pits, water coolers, etc. This is followed the next day by cleaning of all overhead storage tanks, schools, anganwadis, and chlorination of the drinking water supply chain. On day 3, workers de-silt all the drainages in the area, fill up pits and unused wells and initiate measures to combat mosquito menace.

On day 4, roads in the contamination zone are sanitised and cleaned, sanitation of all vendor outlets is conducted and furniture/equipment used is disinfected. As a part of the eight-day plan to prevent Covid-19 spread in containment zones, the government is using the opportunity to repair of hand pumps, curtailing the practice of washing clothes at public taps, ensuring conservation of water by fixing permanent heads to private and public taps on day 5.

On day 6, health and other officials conduct awareness drives in the area regarding hygiene practices. On day 7, all the stray animals in the containment zone and buffer zone are rescued and rehabilitated. On day 8, silt removed from drainages and sewerage piplines are transported from the containment zone after spraying a mixture of bleaching and lime solution.

The government has also started collecting waste from the households in the containment zone to be taken to waste processing centres.

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