How to fight coronavirus, the Bhilwara way

How to fight coronavirus, the Bhilwara way

From an epicentre of the novel coronavirus to a model on how to contain the spread of the virus, the district of Bhilwara in Rajasthan has scripted a remarkable success story in the fight against COVID-19, presenting a way forward for the rest of the country post the current period of lockdown.

The aggressive measures adopted by the local administration after the first cases were reported on March 19 involved an immediate clamping of curfew, sealing off the district from the rest of the state, a massive screening exercise, a rigorous contact tracing effort and placing thousands who fell in the high-risk or suspect category under quarantine.

In an interaction with state chief secretaries on Monday, Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba said the states could look at emulating the Bhilwara model of containment of COVID-19, indicating that the measures adopted to curb the spread of the novel virus in the district in Mewar region of Rajasthan could be followed post April 14, with similar steps being taken for areas that have emerged as coronavirus hotspots even as a staggered opening of other areas is considered.

The Bhilwara exercise involved a mammoth door-to-door survey, which covered around 28 lakh people in just nine days. A watch-list of 11,000 people who had flu-like symptoms was prepared and around 7,000 people were placed under quarantine.

The district was placed under curfew after doctors and other staff of a private hospital tested positive for the virus on March 19 and to restrict the movement of people, the local administration arranged for home delivery of rations.

Also, private hospitals as well as hotels, lodges and dharamshalas were taken over by the administration to get ready around 15,000 quarantine beds.

There was an initial spurt in the number of cases reported in Bhilwara. There were serious apprehensions that the district could go into stage three of the disease transmission since a total of 6,192 patients had gone to the private hospital where doctors and other staff had tested positive between February 20 and March 17, when the hospital staff were admitted in the isolation ward at the government-run Mahatma Gandhi hospital.

However, for the last five days, no positive case has emerged in Bhilwara. So far, 27 cases of coronavirus have been reported from the district.

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