NEW DELHI: With 42,239 containment zones as on Friday, the map of Delhi is pockmarked with restricted areas in the ongoing pandemic. But unlike the strict measures in the previous waves, police patrolling during the day, manning of entry and exits of housing colonies and round-the-clock deployment of civil defence volunteers are mostly missing this time.
A spot check of such zones in south and south-east Delhi by The Morning Standard found that many addresses listed on the city government’s official website (last updated on January 16) were wrong. Many residents had no idea why their houses or areas were marked in sealed zones.
Based on the addresses given in the list, this reporter visited some of the houses to assess the preparation of the Covid-affected zones.
Many of the addresses did not have a single Covid case, while some of them had tested positive in the second wave of the pandemic last year. Others had patients but stated that neither anyone came for inspection nor their building was turned into a containment zone.
"Nobody came…civil defence or police. My son had tested positive and we got a call from the government and were asked if we require an oximeter. That’s it," said Meetu Kohli of Kalkaji.
"We have no idea that our address is mentioned in the active containment zone list."
While Meetu’s son tested positive, Rachna Ghosh, a resident of Govindpuri, stated she and her husband had tested positive in the second wave.
“A few people came and enquired. They gave us medicines but we are fine this time.”
When told that her address is in the list of active containment zones, she said this must be a mistake.
One of the addresses in the list was vacant, as the family was not residing there. When enquired with neighbours if anyone had tested Covid positive, they said none in the house or nearby addresses were infected so far.
A senior government official contended that addresses mentioned in the list were not incorrect. The official, however, said if there was fault in the list of containment zones, it will be updated properly.
“I guess the page has not been updated correctly and we will see what can be done about this.”
The official also suggested this reporter to visit the Corona Foot Warrior website for more details but it was not open for the public to access the data.
The latest containment zones list data, which was last done on January 16, is available on the revenue.gov.in website.
Interestingly, doctors of the national capital are of the view that the point of having containment zones does not exist anymore and cannot prevent the spread of Covid, mainly because it has been accepted that community spread has already occurred, especially with the new highly transmissible variant called Omicron.
“When we have accepted that there is community transmission, contact tracing will not help and neither will containment zones. We are only testing symptomatic patients. So, what’s the use of sealing an area?,” asked Dr Sanjay Rai of the AIIMS.