Besides, 207 districts-where the rate of doubling is currently low but which can be potential hotspots-have been classified as ‘non-hotspots’ or ‘white zones’. Apart from this, there are ‘green zone’ districts with no new confirmed Covid-19 case in the last 28 days.
These figures released by the health ministry add up to 377 districts, where the disease has been reported, out of India’s total of 732. Districts with hotspots have several such areas that the ministry says are ‘clusters’ of local transmission, but do not amount to community transmission so far.
Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the health ministry, said India’s containment efforts are showing results and highlighted that 11.4% of positive cases reported so far have also recovered. The total number of Covid-19 cases in India has risen to 11,439 with 1,076 fresh cases reported in the last 24 hours while the death toll stands at 377, the ministry official said.
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The classification-based on growth rate of positive cases of Covid-19-is aimed at strict implementation of containment measures and active surveillance to break the chain of transmission during the extended lockdown period, officials said. Districts with doubling rate less than four days (calculated every Monday for last seven days) or having high caseloads contributing to more than 80% of cases in India, as also in several states, are defined as ‘red zones’ or hotspots.
The hotspots have been further categorised as either ‘clusters’ with less than 15 cases or ‘large outbreaks’. Large outbreaks are districts with either more than 15 cases or where there are multiple clusters. Health officials have said presence of several clusters in an area or city with rapidly multiplying cases and transmission between clusters as well would constitute community transmission.
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In a high-level review meeting on Wednesday, cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba asked all state chief secretaries, health secretaries, DGPs, district collectors, municipal commissioners, SPs, CMOs and other officials of states and UTs to implement containment strategies according to the classification. The health ministry has already issued strategies and guidelines accordingly.
These containment strategies describe how to delineate such a zone and a buffer zone. In these containment zones, except for essential services, other movements and activities will be restricted. Cases will be actively monitored and surveyed by special teams in the containment zone as per sampling criteria.
In these zones, samples will be collected and tested and in addition testing will also be carried out for influenza-like illness and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness.