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Amid rise in COVID cases led by the Omicron variant, containment zones in Delhi have increased almost 17-fold in just 12 days. The increase in the number of containment zones has been proportional to the surge in infections in the city.

As per the official data, central district has over 3,400 active containment zones, followed by west (2,680) and south (1,481), while east and northeast district have lower number of active containment zones at 139 and 278, respectively.

On January 1, when the number of COVID-19 cases stood at 2,716 and the positivity rate was 3.64 per cent, the number of containment zones was 1,243. By January 4, the cases had multiplied by almost four times since January 1 and the number of containment zones stood at 2,992.

"Every district magistrate (DM) has to assess the situation in the area. At times, even if there is a single case in a household, the DMs are declaring it a containment zone if there is high rate of infection in that area," said a senior government official. Normally, an area is designated as a containment zone where three or more COVID-19 cases in a family or in the neighbourhood are detected.

Declaration of containment zone depends on the assessment of CDMO, district magistrate and district surveillance officer.

The Delhi Epidemic Disease COVID-19 Regulation, 2020, authorises district magistrates to seal off a geographical area, banning entry and exit of the population from the containment zone and to take any measures directed by the health department to prevent the spread of the disease.

An official from northeast district said, "There are lesser number of containment zones in our district since the active cases are lower and the clusters are also less.

“Currently, even if there are two cases in a family or in adjacent households, they are designated as a containment zone. The intention is to contain the spread of infection as the new variant Omicron is highly transmissible," he said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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