The number of COVID-19 containment zones has come down to 496 in Delhi after an extensive review by the AAP government, providing relief to thousands of people living in such restricted areas.
The number of containment zones was 715 in Delhi by the end of July, affecting nearly 3.5 lakh people. With the number going down to 496, the movement of only about one lakh people will be affected, Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot said in a statement on Saturday.
The review of the containment zones by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government comes after a Union health ministry memorandum earlier this week, allowing all states and Union territories to de-notify a containment zone 14 days after the discharge of the last COVID-19 patient, officials said. Earlier such a de-notification could be done 28 days after the discharge of the last patient.
"As desired by Hon'ble Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal all the containment zones in Delhi were extensively reviewed in last 2 days with each District DM and surveillance Team," Gahlot said in a tweet.
A locality is declared a containment zone by the district authorities in Delhi if three or more persons there test positive for COVID-19.
Reviewing the COVID-19 situation in the national capital on June 29, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had expressed concern over the large size of the containment zones as it restricted the movement of a huge population, Gahlot said.
"During the last two days, an extensive review of containment zones was carried out with Revenue and Health officials. The result has been quite satisfactory. Against 715 containment zones affecting 348099 people, the number of containment zones is now down to 496, which affects the movement of 106211 people," the minister said in the statement.
The situation was again re-assessed by the chief minister, who directed such reviews at regular intervals.
The Delhi government had been demanding changes in the containment zone norms as some restricted areas in the city were under a complete lockdown for three-four months with a large number of people forced to stay indoors, a senior government officer said.
He said the redesigning of the containment zones will affect a lesser number people, while pointing out that the Rajnagar containment zone in southwest Delhi, which affected around 43,000 residents earlier, will affect only about 1,600 people after the exercise.
All entry and exit points are barricaded in a containment zone to prevent any movement of the residents. Police personnel are deployed to keep a watch on it, while necessary supplies are provided to the people in such zones at their doorstep.