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Containment zones & Hotspots

As India prepares for a staggered exit from the lockdown, The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), on 15th March 2020, issued an order listing the activities that will be permitted to operate from 20th March 2020.

The MHA order, among other things, permits operation of commercial and private establishments that deal with

1. IT and IT enabled services with upto 50% strength.
2. Data and call Centers for government activities.
3. Ecommerce.

However, the activities exempted under this guideline will not be permitted in the containment zones.

The relevant part of the MHA order is reproduced below.

“ ‘Hotspots’ or areas of large Covid-19 outbreaks, or clusters with significant spread of the virus, will be determined as per the guidelines issued by the health ministry. In these hotspots, containment zones will be demarcated by States/ UTs/ District administrations as per the guidelines. In these containment zones, the activities exempted under the new guidelines will not be permitted. There shall be strict perimeter control in the area of the containment zones to ensure there is no unchecked inward/outward movement of population from these zones except for maintaining essential services”.

What is a containment zone?

As per Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, “The containment zone will be decided by the Rapid response teams based on the extent of cases/contacts listed and mapped by them. However, if contact listing/ mapping is taking time (>12-24 hours), then on arbitrary basis demarcate an area of 3 Kms radius around the epicenter (the residence of the positive case).

This area of 3 km radius will be the containment zone. If required, based on the mapping of contacts and cases, the containment zone will be refined. A buffer zone of an additional 5 Kms radius (7 Kms in rural areas)/administrative boundary of including neighboring districts/per-urban zone shall also be identified, as detailed in the cluster containment plan”

More details on this can be found here https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/ModelMicroplanforcontainmentoflocaltransmissionofCOVID19.pdf

Is containment zone same as hotspots?

No. Containment zones are specific areas within a hotspot. The Zones will be demarcated by States/ UTs/ District administrations as per the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Who publishes the list of containment zone?

The State Governments, district administration and municipal corporations have been publishing list of hotspots regularly.

What are the restrictions imposed in a containment zone?

There is a complete lockdown in the containment zone. No residents, except essential workers, are allowed to go in or out of the zone.
The authorities conduct a door-to-door screening for Covid-19 symptoms and sanitise each household in the zone. The essential commodities are supplied at the doorstep by the government.

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