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Health India

Covid-19: This is what happens when an area is sealed...

A peep into life in a hot-zone

Karuna John 09 Apr 2020

LockdownImage Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

The local police will put up barricades, often yellow painted metallic ones on wheels, two-layers deep and overlapping if possible, completely restricting the entry and exit of all vehicles. No vendors, milk suppliers, household help, drivers or nannies will be allowed to enter, and residents will not be allowed to exit the building or locality. There will be constant police vehicles on patrol on the main roads, in addition to police personnel permanently stationed at the barricade itself.

In case of an emergency, people are expected to alert the police and help will be sent. If needed ambulances will be sent to take the patient to a nearby hospital. All essential goods vendors will have to leave the deliveries at the barricade gates and residents will be called to come and collect the packages one by one. All other unessential, civilian movement has been banned. Everyone has to wear a mask when they step out of their front doors now. This is compulsory by government order as well. Any non compliance is going to be dealt with strictly.

This is what is currently happening at a middle class cooperative housing society building in Patparganj, Delhi. Mayurdhwaj Apartment was sealed a few days ago after one of its residents died, and was tested positive for Covid-19. He had also been suffering from a chronic ailment for long, say his neighbours. They also said that his spouse too had tested positive for Coronavirus and some more family members have also been tested. Two positives and this entire building of a couple of hundred apartments, with an average of four people in each, has been sealed tight. The people are home, have stocks of food, running water, electricity, and balconies they can come onto for a breather if feeling cooped up. So far so good. All they have to do is stay indoors till the lockdown period has passed.

The Privilege Factor

However, this comfort itself is a privilege, something rare in any Indian locality. A few hundred meters away is another of Delhi’s Coronavirus hotspots in a much densely populated locality of West Vinod Nagar. A kilometre further away is another in Pandav Nagar, best described as an urban village. These are just three hotspots sealed last night in one corner of Delhi, there are more in other parts of Delhi, a total of  20, that will keep thousands of citizens locked indoors till further orders. For their own good. With their own individual challenges.

These places include slum clusters with ramshackle housings, without proper plumbing, drainage, drinking water, garbage disposal, leave alone anything else. Basic living conditions here are abysmal even on normal days, thousands are forced to call this home because they have no option. Ten or more people cram into rooms that can barely hold two or three comfortably. How the sealing and lockdown will impact them is a challenge few outside can imagine. 

Assurances about delivery of essentials in Delhi

On Wednesday night, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had to himself announce the sealing and the assurance that only the lanes, and zones specified will be sealed. These containment zones  include areas in Sangam Vihar, Malviya Nagar and Jahangirpuri, where people cannot go out of their houses and the government will ensure delivery of essential items, said a report in Business standard. “Nobody will be allowed to enter or exit from these areas,” said Sisodia. The Number of coronavirus cases in the national capital on Wednesday mounted to 669, with 93 fresh cases reported in a day, according to the Delhi health department, said the report. More cases are expected to come to light as more test reports come in. 

Hotspots in UP

Less than 10 kilometers away, is the Uttar Pradesh border of Ghaziabad, and Gautambuddha Nagar which also includes Noida. They are a part of 15 districts of that state that have been completely sealed off from Wednesday night, as Coronavirus hotspots have been identified here after positive cases were reported. According to News 18, these district include Lucknow, Noida, Ghaziabad, Sitapur, Kanpur, Agra, Firozabad, Bareilly, Meerut, Shamli, Saharanpur, Bulandshahr, Varanasi, Maharajganj and Basti. Each of these districts have multiple hotspots for example  Agra has  22,  Ghaziabad has 13 and Noida has 12 as does  Kanpur. Prime Minister Modi’s constituency  Varanasi has 4 hotspots. While Lucknow has 12.  All 15 districts will remain sealed till April 15.

Interestingly in Noida and Greater Noida of Gautam Buddha Nagar, most of the hotspots are in upper middle class gated communities, and only a few are in slum clusters or urban villages. A total of 104 hotspots have been sealed in Uttar Pradesh so far. And as soon as rumours gathered steam, even before the official announcements, hundreds of people rushed out to buy provisions fearing a sealing will mean they will be locked in their home for an indefinite period. Local authorities and police had to put out statements assuring the people essential goods will be delivered to their localities.

The number of Covid-19 cases in UP had risen to 343, said reports, this had led to the immediate sealing. The state’s Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi, has been quoted as saying that a total of 104 hotspots, across 81 police stations in these districts were identified. The sealing came into effect at midnight on Wednesday. Here, all curfew-passes issued to locals now stand cancelled and any movement of people in the sealed localities  is now prohibited. Here too the authorities have said essential commodities will be delivered to the people.

While the area is to be sanitised, those who have had any contact with Covid-19 patients will also be identified. UP Director General of Police (DGP) Hitesh Chandra Awasthi told the local media that no movement of people will be allowed even within the inner lanes of these localities. In UP too, a government order (GO) making it compulsory for everyone to wear a mask when outdoors will be implemented.

While the process sounds smooth on paper, and even when transmitted on the news and social media, real challenges do spring up on the ground as each day unfolds. For example: a large number of economically and socially marginalised sections of the population may find themselves unable to access the cooked meals and rations promised by the government, and meals and rations which were delivered by civil volunteers. They also get drinking water from places outside their clusters, and use common toilets. What will they do? Those who work as vegetable, egg, milk vendors and rickshaw pullers are not sure how they will earn their daily wages. Not everyone is on social media, or glued to government briefings. The sealing is in place till April 15, but it is still not clear what will happen once that date arrives.

Related:

UP police enters homes, brutally attacks people for allegedly violating lockdown!
Dharavi a ticking bomb after two fresh cases 

Covid-19: This is what happens when an area is sealed...

A peep into life in a hot-zone

LockdownImage Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

The local police will put up barricades, often yellow painted metallic ones on wheels, two-layers deep and overlapping if possible, completely restricting the entry and exit of all vehicles. No vendors, milk suppliers, household help, drivers or nannies will be allowed to enter, and residents will not be allowed to exit the building or locality. There will be constant police vehicles on patrol on the main roads, in addition to police personnel permanently stationed at the barricade itself.

In case of an emergency, people are expected to alert the police and help will be sent. If needed ambulances will be sent to take the patient to a nearby hospital. All essential goods vendors will have to leave the deliveries at the barricade gates and residents will be called to come and collect the packages one by one. All other unessential, civilian movement has been banned. Everyone has to wear a mask when they step out of their front doors now. This is compulsory by government order as well. Any non compliance is going to be dealt with strictly.

This is what is currently happening at a middle class cooperative housing society building in Patparganj, Delhi. Mayurdhwaj Apartment was sealed a few days ago after one of its residents died, and was tested positive for Covid-19. He had also been suffering from a chronic ailment for long, say his neighbours. They also said that his spouse too had tested positive for Coronavirus and some more family members have also been tested. Two positives and this entire building of a couple of hundred apartments, with an average of four people in each, has been sealed tight. The people are home, have stocks of food, running water, electricity, and balconies they can come onto for a breather if feeling cooped up. So far so good. All they have to do is stay indoors till the lockdown period has passed.

The Privilege Factor

However, this comfort itself is a privilege, something rare in any Indian locality. A few hundred meters away is another of Delhi’s Coronavirus hotspots in a much densely populated locality of West Vinod Nagar. A kilometre further away is another in Pandav Nagar, best described as an urban village. These are just three hotspots sealed last night in one corner of Delhi, there are more in other parts of Delhi, a total of  20, that will keep thousands of citizens locked indoors till further orders. For their own good. With their own individual challenges.

These places include slum clusters with ramshackle housings, without proper plumbing, drainage, drinking water, garbage disposal, leave alone anything else. Basic living conditions here are abysmal even on normal days, thousands are forced to call this home because they have no option. Ten or more people cram into rooms that can barely hold two or three comfortably. How the sealing and lockdown will impact them is a challenge few outside can imagine. 

Assurances about delivery of essentials in Delhi

On Wednesday night, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had to himself announce the sealing and the assurance that only the lanes, and zones specified will be sealed. These containment zones  include areas in Sangam Vihar, Malviya Nagar and Jahangirpuri, where people cannot go out of their houses and the government will ensure delivery of essential items, said a report in Business standard. “Nobody will be allowed to enter or exit from these areas,” said Sisodia. The Number of coronavirus cases in the national capital on Wednesday mounted to 669, with 93 fresh cases reported in a day, according to the Delhi health department, said the report. More cases are expected to come to light as more test reports come in. 

Hotspots in UP

Less than 10 kilometers away, is the Uttar Pradesh border of Ghaziabad, and Gautambuddha Nagar which also includes Noida. They are a part of 15 districts of that state that have been completely sealed off from Wednesday night, as Coronavirus hotspots have been identified here after positive cases were reported. According to News 18, these district include Lucknow, Noida, Ghaziabad, Sitapur, Kanpur, Agra, Firozabad, Bareilly, Meerut, Shamli, Saharanpur, Bulandshahr, Varanasi, Maharajganj and Basti. Each of these districts have multiple hotspots for example  Agra has  22,  Ghaziabad has 13 and Noida has 12 as does  Kanpur. Prime Minister Modi’s constituency  Varanasi has 4 hotspots. While Lucknow has 12.  All 15 districts will remain sealed till April 15.

Interestingly in Noida and Greater Noida of Gautam Buddha Nagar, most of the hotspots are in upper middle class gated communities, and only a few are in slum clusters or urban villages. A total of 104 hotspots have been sealed in Uttar Pradesh so far. And as soon as rumours gathered steam, even before the official announcements, hundreds of people rushed out to buy provisions fearing a sealing will mean they will be locked in their home for an indefinite period. Local authorities and police had to put out statements assuring the people essential goods will be delivered to their localities.

The number of Covid-19 cases in UP had risen to 343, said reports, this had led to the immediate sealing. The state’s Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi, has been quoted as saying that a total of 104 hotspots, across 81 police stations in these districts were identified. The sealing came into effect at midnight on Wednesday. Here, all curfew-passes issued to locals now stand cancelled and any movement of people in the sealed localities  is now prohibited. Here too the authorities have said essential commodities will be delivered to the people.

While the area is to be sanitised, those who have had any contact with Covid-19 patients will also be identified. UP Director General of Police (DGP) Hitesh Chandra Awasthi told the local media that no movement of people will be allowed even within the inner lanes of these localities. In UP too, a government order (GO) making it compulsory for everyone to wear a mask when outdoors will be implemented.

While the process sounds smooth on paper, and even when transmitted on the news and social media, real challenges do spring up on the ground as each day unfolds. For example: a large number of economically and socially marginalised sections of the population may find themselves unable to access the cooked meals and rations promised by the government, and meals and rations which were delivered by civil volunteers. They also get drinking water from places outside their clusters, and use common toilets. What will they do? Those who work as vegetable, egg, milk vendors and rickshaw pullers are not sure how they will earn their daily wages. Not everyone is on social media, or glued to government briefings. The sealing is in place till April 15, but it is still not clear what will happen once that date arrives.

Related:

UP police enters homes, brutally attacks people for allegedly violating lockdown!
Dharavi a ticking bomb after two fresh cases 

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