India is the world’s second most populous country, after China and Covid-19 is believed to have a larger impact on the states and countries that are densely populated. India being one of them, makes it important to make strategies to contain the virus in these densely populated states.
Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal accounts for 40% of the country’s total population, and also accounts for one-third of total 10,444 Covid-19 cases in India.
Being densely populated, the probability of rapid spread of Covid-19 in these states was and remains higher than in less populated southern and Himalayan states. They are also more vulnerable because they house about 60% of 1.3 million migrant labourers in shelters across India.
Apart from adhering to the Health Ministry’s guidelines of testing and strong Covid-19 cluster management. They also launched apps to track hundreds of patients and put thousands of people in quarantine.
Not just that, these states also opted for state specific models that helped in containing the spread. Maharashtra opted for aggressive testing and created the most number of containment zones in cities. Uttar Pradesh ensured that the virus is restricted to 41 of the 75 districts.
Bihar focused more on isolating migrant workers and screening of all foreigners. Madhya Pradesh came across as lax initially before ramping up screening and testing efforts and West Bengal termed its plan as containment with “human face”.
Maharashtra, unlike most other states, got its initial Covid-19 patients from foreign travelers. After a rapid rise in the cases with an average of more than 150 positive cases and 12 deaths a day over the last ten days, the state government shifted focus on the containment zones.
The state has more than 400 containment zones, including 381 in Mumbai alone, highest for any city in India. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has divided these containment zones in three categories, red with more than 5-6 patients, yellow up to six patients and green with no cases.
As on Monday, 2334 people had tested positive and 149 had died due to Covid-19 in Maharashtra. Around 70% of these cases were reported in the last ten days. MMR, which comprises 9 municipal corporations and 20% of the state population has 1520 patients.
Uttar Pradesh on the other hand focused on 41 districts, from where Covid-19 cases were reported and adopted a multi-pronged strategy of aggressive identification of hotspots, intensification of restrictions and creation of new health facilities combined with relief to people. When the outbreak happened in UP there was not even a single testing lab and 10 labs and more are coming up.
According to the officials, 11 committees were set up to oversee the situation following lockdown announcement and suggest measures to provide relief to people.
UP was the first state to announce financial relief of ₹1000 to half a million workers, daily wagers and vendors and is set to implement free distribution of food grains to nearly 30.54 million labourers.
Containing the virus in Madhya Pradesh has been a task for chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan. As we all know, post the formation of government in the state, the cabinet in Madhya Pradesh still hasn’t been in place and on top of that, 72 health department officials had tested Covid-19 positive.
The data provided by the state government shows that Covid-19 has primarily been restricted to Indore and Bhopal and cases have been mostly reported in 21 of the 52 districts in the state.
Of the 562 positive cases, Indore with 311 patients accounts for 55.33% and Bhopal, with 134, 26.22% of total cases. Overall, Madhya Pradesh has 7.29% death rate while in Indore the death rate is 9.64%, higher than the national average of 3.4. Of the 41 deaths, 30 were from Indore.
The state’s strategy has four components, Identification, Isolation, Test and Treatment (IITT). He said any area visited by a foreigner or known for Influenza Like Illness or respiratory problems, is declared a containment zone.
Door to door surveys are done to list people with different categories of diseases and they are marked as high or low risk. The test of the person with high risks is then either conducted at home or at a testing centre. In addition to this, Indore being the worst affected city has been divided into five sectors, with a senior officer in-charge of each sector.
Bihar, so far has 65 Covid-19 positive patients. Considering the situation to be under control, the state is the first in the country to open its outpatient facilities for all.
Bihar also followed the model of containment zones, where people have not been allowed to move out of their homes and essential supplies are being delivered to them at their doorstep.
Panjwar village of Siwan district, where 23 of the 29 cases in the district were reported, has been declared a ‘red zone’ and complete barricading of the village has been done at 200 metres, 500 metres, 1km, 2km and 3km.
West Bengal as of now has just 95 Covid positive cases and seven deaths. The state has been warned by the home ministry for not enforcing lockdown norms strictly. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, however, had opted for “lockdown with human face” and imposed complete clampdown in Covid-19 hotspots.
Some areas where people have tested positive for Covid-19, and there is a threat of the disease spreading, have been totally sealed.
The state has formed an advisory body roping in international experts (such as Nobel laureate economist Abhijit Banerjee) and has also formed three task forces and a few other committees to help the state tackle the spread.
The state now has seven testing laboratories, 64 hospitals are earmarked for Covid-19 patients and there are more than 580 quarantine centres.