The Karnataka government has on Friday changed the definition of a containment zone in a bid to further ease the lockdown. Earlier, a containment zone was the area around 100 m radius of the home of a person with COVID-19. This is being changed to mean only the specific building where the person was working and/or residing, when the infection was detected in case it is an individual house.
If a person has COVID-19 and lives in an apartment building, only that particular floor where the patient resides, and the floor immediately above and immediately below would be declared as a containment zone, according to the guidelines released by the Health Department. This means that the entire apartment block will no longer be declared as a containment zone if one of the residents tests positive for COVID-19.
The new guidelines further state that respective Deputy Commissioners (DC) of each district would have the power to declare the parameters of the containment zone based on the ground reality.
The state government announced the new guidelines after two new containment zones were announced in Bengaluru -- Nagawara and JJR Nagar, following reports of new cases of COVID-19 in these areas.
This goes along with the updated guidelines which have been issued from the Centre this May.
According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family welfare guidelines on containment plans updated on May 16, “The cluster containment strategy would be to contain the disease with in a defined geographic area by early detection, breaking the chain of transmission and thus preventing its spread to new areas.”
A cluster has been defined as any location with less than 15 localised cases. The government has said that various measures would be taken to contain the virus within that geographical locations, “This would include geographic quarantine, social distancing measures, enhanced active surveillance, testing all suspected cases, isolation of cases, home quarantine of contacts, social mobilization to follow preventive public health measures.”
Meanwhile, the Karnataka government has also set up a team of government officials who will be a part of the Disease Surveillance Team.
In a notification issued on Friday, the state government named a total of eleven officials to combat the spread of coronavirus by making them in charge of disease surveillance.
The team includes IAS officers Ajay Seth as President, Pankaj Kumar Pandey as Nodal Officer, IFS officer Meenakshi Neegi as Close Contacts Nodal Officer, Dr K Ravi and Dr Shashibhushan (BMRCT), Dr K Anita Desai (NIMHANS), Anirudh Shravan P IAS in charge of Domestic Flights, Dr Arundathi Chandrashekara IAS (NULP) in charge of Contact Tracing, Containment Zones and Quarantine Coordination, Meena Nagaraj IAS, in charge of Close contact tracing of international passengers, KD Dayananda IAS, in charge of rail passengers, and K S Ramesh IAS, in charge of High risk households and public spaces.
Their work would constitute contact tracing efforts and coordination with various government bodies, being undertaken seriously by the government, in order to keep the number of infections in the state low.