Delhi’s lieutenant governor (L-G) Anil Baijal on Friday issued directions to the government for drafting a fresh policy for containment zones, increased surveillance of Covid-19 cases – with special focus on those in home isolation — and stricter enforcement of Covid guidelines.
Baijal is the chairperson of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority , and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is its vice-chairperson.
The directions from the L-G came during a meeting of DDMA on Friday evening, which was attended by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, revenue minister Kailash Gehlot, chief secretary Vijay Dev, and other top government officials and experts —including Dr VK Paul of Niti Aayog, Dr Randeep Guleria, director of AIIMS and Dr Balram Bhargava, DG of ICMR. Most of the officials participated through video conferencing , government officials said.
“The L-G chaired the DDMA meeting to review the Covid-19 situation… He advised officials and experts to jointly prepare blueprint for re-strategising containment zone policy to reduce positivity rate and mortality rate. He emphasised on aggressive campaigns particularly in vernacular language to engage stakeholders for ensuring Covid-19 appropriate behaviour,” said the office of the L-G, in a series of tweets.
The chief minister’s office did not issue a separate statement about the meeting, with Delhi government spokespersons refusing to comment on it.
On Friday, in a separate meeting with district magistrates, the deputy commissioners of police and municipal commissioners, the L-G issued directions to intensify surveillance to ensure better implementation of protocols of home isolation patients, ways to enhance early detection of cases, and enforcement of protective and preventive Covid-19 measures, said another senior official in the L-G office.
As on Friday, Delhi had 1,751 containment zones — which are defined as sealed areas where free movement of individuals and traffic is prohibited, as is economic activities. All residents in containment zones are put under intensive surveillance and are periodically screened for the virus and the area sanitised. Essential goods are delivered at doorstep by government officials for a period of at least 14 days.
This is the second time that Delhi’s containment zone strategy will be re-drafted. Earlier, the containment zone policy was redrafted on June 26, in adherence to recommendations of Union home minister Amit Shah.
“While the L-G has given no clear deadline in Friday’s meeting, the health department is likely to submit the new containment zones strategy in a week,” an official privy to the developments said.
While discussing ways to enhance early detection of cases, the L-G made a reference to rapid antigen and RT-PCR tests but did not delve further into the modalities, said two district officials who spoke with HT on the condition of anonymity.
In a separate meeting on Friday, health minister Satyendar Jain discussed ways to ramp up RT-PCR tests with top health department officials and medical officers, in adherence to directions of the Delhi High Court earlier this week.
On Friday, Delhi recorded 4,127 new covid-19 cases – taking the total number of people infected to 238,828 — against 61,037 tests.