Covid-19: Will the containment zones work? – editorials
State governments have begun to experiment with the idea of buffer zones to treat coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The mechanism is simple. Groups that have seen an increase in cases, and have shown traces of rapid transmission, are sealed. This can be in the form of a housing society, a neighborhood, or even a district. Blocking in the identified group is not only more strictly enforced, but the movement of residents is also completely prohibited. Even essential supplies are delivered at home. Movement to these areas is limited to a small set of health officials and workers. There is also aggressive screening and improved testing in these groups.
The strategy is based on the belief that this would allow authorities to identify each infected person, offer isolation and treatment, and reduce their interface, and the interface of all those with whom they may have been in contact, with the outside world. . This, therefore, would contain the infection to a specific geography and eventually decrease its spread. It is largely inspired by what is known as the Bhilwara model of “ruthless containment”. In Rajasthan, the state government pioneered this method of taming the infection after healthcare workers in a hospital were first infected.
Containment zones cause discomfort to citizens, restricting their mobility almost entirely and making them dependent on state officials and selected private providers for supplies. But this drawback, and the temporary reduction of rights, is worth it for the broader goal of containing the disease. The fact that this model has now been expanded will also help the government to judge its effectiveness beyond Bhilwara. It will take time. But if, within a fortnight, cases in these select groups decline, those who become infected receive treatment, deaths are avoided or kept to a minimum, and the chain of transmission breaks, it will emerge as a model every time the blockade is eventually lifted It must be recognized that Covid-19 is a new threat, and therefore public health strategies are still based on experiments. This forces governments to emulate best practices. The potential benefits of declaring containment areas far outweigh the costs.