The cluster containment strategy would include geographic quarantine, social distancing measures, enhanced active surveillance and testing of all suspected cases

The government has drawn out a containment plan as clusters posing high risk of further spread of COVID-19 cases have emerged in several states like Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Telangana, Delhi and Ladakh.

The cluster containment strategy would be to contain the disease within a defined geographic area by early detection of cases, breaking the chain of transmission and thus preventing its spread to new areas.

Noting that local transmission will lead to clustering of cases in time and space, epidemiologically linked to a travel related case or a positive case that has links to a travel related case, the health ministry has drawn out the plan.

The ministry said with 211 districts now reporting COVID-19 cases, the risk of further spread remains very high.

India would be following a strategic approach for possible scenarios - travel-related case reported in India, local transmission of COVID-19, large outbreaks amenable to containment, widespread community transmission of COVID-19 disease and India becomes endemic for COVID-19, the ministry said.

According to the document, "containment for large outbreaks through geographic quarantine strategy calls for near absolute interruption of movement of people to and from a relatively large defined area where there is single large outbreak or multiple foci of local transmission" of COVID-19.

“In simple terms, it is a barrier erected around the focus of infection. Geographic quarantine shall be applicable to such areas reporting large outbreak and/or multiple clusters of COVID-19 spread over multiple blocks of one or more districts that are contiguous,” it said.

The cluster containment strategy would "include geographic quarantine, social distancing measures, enhanced active surveillance, testing all suspected cases, isolation of cases, quarantine of contacts and risk communication to create awareness among public on preventive public health measures", the document stated.

For large outbreaks amenable to containment, the documents stated that the strategy will remain the same but vary in extent depending upon spread and response to be mounted to contain it.

Geographic quarantine and containment strategy will include defining the area of operation, active surveillance for cases and contacts in the identified geographic zone, expanding laboratory capacity for testing all suspect cases, high risk contacts and SARI cases and operationalising surge capacities created for isolation (COVID-19 hospitals/blocks) to hospitalise and manage all suspect or confirmed cases.

Courtesy: Economic Times