April 2020 News

Jammu Puts In Place Cluster Containment Strategy

6 April 2020
The Tribune

Jammu: As the coronavirus cases in Jammu and Kashmir jumped to 109 on Monday, the health authorities have implemented a cluster containment strategy by creating red and buffer zones to deal with the contagion. At least 43 localities in Kashmir and 13 in the Jammu division have been declared the red zones after witnessing more than two cases at the same place and time. A zone may have a population of nearly 1.5 lakh. 'The cluster containment zones are created after we find more than two cases at the same place and time. It is aimed at containing the disease within a defined geographical area by controlling the movement of people in and out of the zones, early detection of cases, breaking the chain of transmission, thus preventing its spread to the new areas,' said Dr Qazi Haroon, Officer on Special Duty in the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir, for the coronavirus efforts. The government has imposed strict restrictions on the movement of people in these areas and invoked Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, which can land any violator in the jail for a month. Several persons have been booked for violations in these areas. Haroon said the cluster containment plan called for near absolute interruption of the movement of the people to and from a relatively large defined area, where there are multiple foci of local transmission of coronavirus. Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam on Sunday called for intensive surveys in the twin cities of Jammu and Srinagar, especially in the identified red zones. The move is aimed at having a database with the administration and to put people in isolation and quarantine those having symptoms of coronavirus, thereby checking its spread. Initially, the government had declared 20 villages as the red zones in Kashmir on March 31 after several persons tested positive for coronavirus in Bandipora, Srinagar, Pulwama, Shopian and Budgam districts. No public movement is allowed within the 3-km radius of the cluster declared as the red zone in the rural areas while as for the buffer zone it is 5 km. In the urban areas, the government has banned the movement of people within the 300-m radius of the red zone and 500 m of the buffer zone. The government on Monday sealed the Chattabal area of Srinagar, already declared a red zone, after more than five persons were found positive for Covid-19. Haroon said the recent spike in the positive cases could be attributed to the extensive contact tracing, active search for cases in the containment zones and amplified testing.