Need Aggressive Strategy, Mini Lockdowns To Contain Covid Surge: AIIMS Chief

Randeep Guleria said the containment zones should be like “mini lockdown so people cannot go out”.

New Delhi:

The second Covid wave having taken the daily surge across the 1 lakh mark in a first in the country, Dr Randeep Guleria — chief of Delhi’s All-India Institute of Medical Sciences — today underscored the need for a strategy that can include lockdown in hotspots.

Asked if he thinks a lockdown at this point can be considered, he told NDTV, “So in regional areas where we have a number of cases, we could look at a strategy which could include a lockdown. I do agree with that. But it is not something we need to look at on a national level. We need to identify areas that are hotspots and that’s like what I said — we could have containment zones and lockdown areas (in those places)… “

Calling the situation “very worrying”, Dr Guleria, who is also a key member of the government’s Covid Task Force, told NDTV, “If we can’t have a complete lockdown, we need to have containment zones”.

A countrywide lockdown is not seen an option now, given the experience of last year. Not only had the economy suffered, thousands of migrant labourers were left with no income overnight, providing the opposition with a potent tool against the BJP-led Central government.

So far, some of the 10 states that are driving the surge have opted for partial lockdowns. Maharashtra, which is again suffering the worst, has declared weekend lockdowns and night curfews.

Dr Guleria suggested that containment zones, introduced last year as the lockdown was phased out, be used again as a strategy to contain the virus.  

The containment zones, he said, should be like “mini lockdown so people cannot go out and a lot of testing tracking and isolation should be going on in these areas. Everyone who are in close contact (of patients) should be tested aggressively”.

Pointing out that the rate of rise in daily Covid figures is “very steep” compared to the last time, he said, “The figures crossed 1 lakh in a very short period of time and therefore we need some aggressive things and need to have a strategy in place”.

The country saw 1,03,558 fresh Covid cases today — the biggest-ever daily surge since the virus surfaced in Kerala in January last year.

On Sunday, at a high-level meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided that central teams should immediately be sent to three states – Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh.

Later, PM Modi tweeted, “Reviewed the COVID-19 and vaccination related situation across the country. Reiterated the importance of the five fold strategy of testing, tracing, treatment, Covid-appropriate behaviour and vaccination as an effective way to fight the global pandemic.”

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