New Delhi: India stares at two more weeks of lockdown as the Ministry of Home Affairs extended it beyond May 4 to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus. While relaxations have been spelt out for Green and Orange Zones there is a new sense of scepticism among those staying in “relaxed zones”.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) clarified Green Zone as those districts which either have recorded zero confirmed cases till date or no confirmed case in the last 21 days. However, there is a new trend emerging where COVID-19 footprints are being witnessed in the Green Zones as well. While state governments are continuously chalking out plans to contain the spread, such a pattern has created uncertainty among people.
The first instance where COVID-19 positive cases were recorded in a Green Zone was in Kerala. On April 16, Kerala government eased lockdown restrictions in Kottayam and Idukki district and they were marked as Green Zone. Soon after, there was a sudden spike in the number of cases which forced the government to put these districts in Orange Zone on April 23. And later it was shifted as the Red Zone on April 27. As per the latest list issued by MoHFW, Kottayam is in the Red Zone while Idukki has been marked as an Orange Zone.
In Punjab, returnees from Nanded Sahib and Punjabi labourers coming back from Rajasthan are being tested in Green Zones such as Ropar, Fatehgarh, Bathinda and Fazilka. This has increased fear among those staying in Green Zone districts as Nanded Sahib Pilgrims have tested positive in Amritsar and some other districts as well.
Three people tested COVID-19 positive in West Bengal’s Green Zone district Birbhum on Thursday. The positive patients had returned from Mumbai after getting medical treatment. On April 27 their swab test was done and reports suggest that they are Coronavirus positive. However, as per today's list given by centre 10 districts from West Bengal are placed under Red Zone whereas Birbhum still has been classified in the Green Zone. Residents are now scared of the spread of Coronavirus.
Meanwhile, in Assam, Bongaigaon which was also classified in Green Zone recorded four positive cases on Thursday of which two are healthcare workers. A group of ANMs of Bongaigaon PHC sub-centre have alleged that the two health workers who tested positive were not told to home quarantine after their swab samples were collected during random testing but were asked to report to work. Such callous attitude by PHC authorities have irate the locals who believe their safety has been jeopardised by those who were supposed to protect it.
If the pattern continues then the hazy picture of returning to normalcy will remain a farfetched idea with more lockdown extensions knocking their way. As per the latest list issued by MoHFW, 130 districts have been identified in Red Zone, 284 districts have been marked on Orange Zone while 319 districts are kept in the Green Zone.
(With inputs from Chandrakanth Viswanath, Siddhartha Sarkar, Tulika Devi and Anuradha Shukla)