Covid-19 pandemic: Bhilwara’s strategy that cut infections

Rajasthan’s Bhilwara has reported a lone Covid-19 case in the past nine days even as new coronavirus hotspots spring up elsewhere, including the walled city of Jaipur.

The textile city’s 27th Covid-19 case was reported on April 4, five days after the previous one. While the drop in the rate of infections suggests the ruthless containment strategy in place since March 20 has worked, the administration isn’t taking any chances. Since April 3, curfew has been extended with even more restrictions than before.

Adequate groceries have been supplied at one go to each ward so that stocks last till the next phase begins. The district administration has drawn up a timetable and fixed timings for supply of items to every doorstep in a bid to prevent people from venturing out.

Status quo will be maintained till Sunday, when the administration takes a call on the way forward. “The scenario keeps changing; so we have decided to wait and watch till April 12. We will plan our future strategy depending on the situation then,” district collector Rajendra Bhatt said. The first phase of aggressive containment had started on March 20, a day after a doctor in a private hospital in the city tested positive. It lasted 14 days, during which curfew was in force across Bhilwara. But unlike now, essentials were being supplied daily to all containment zones.

Dr Romel Singh, who is on deputation from Jaipur as the nodal officer for Covid-19 containment in Bhilwara, said a wait-and-watch strategy was as much a part of the model as enforcement. “When we came here, there was a lot of work to do. We managed to pull through with the help of the police and health departments.”

The state government is awaiting the ICMR’s nod to set up a Covid-19 laboratory in Bhilwara and speed up testing. Samples collected for testing are currently sent to the state-run RNT Medical College in Udaipur.

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