How Do You Fight A Pandemic? Ask City Of Bhilwara In Rajasthan
Bhilwara in Rajasthan was one of the early hotspots of the COVID-19 outbreak. The state implemented stringent and aggressive measures that are now being replicated elsewhere in the country.
Bhilwara, once labeled as the epicenter of COVID-19 in country, is coming back on track after the dedicated efforts of Rajasthan Government & local administration.
Healthcare workers, police personnel, government officials, home guards and every other individual related to the screening of COVID-19 patients are working without any leaves, all day. It's just not a duty but a service to their state and country.
The government recently listed some COVID hotspots which were also known as the epicenters of the virus. Bhilwara emerged as one from Rajasthan in the list of 10 major hotspots identified by ministry of health and family welfare.
Last week, 12 out of 18 cases in Rajasthan were from Bhilwara. With 27 cases, the district was worst hit in Rajasthan and for a few days, at the national level too.
However, following the efforts of all the front line soldiers, the city now has 17 recoveries with 11 discharged.
The Bhilwara Model
"We are now on a war-footing level and working in a 6-part process beginning with the imposition of curfew, coordination work of police, surveying colonies where the visitor's of Brijesh Bangar Hospital, where it all began, might be staying," Harendra Mahawar, Superintendent of Police, Bhilwara said.
He further added that all the patients admitted to the IPD and OPD were also screened. To break the chain of contamination, nearly six thousand people were identified and put under isolation in only two days.
The struggle had just begun when patients from 19 districts and 4 states were admitted to the state hospitals and Bhilwara reported a sudden rise in cases.
Every single individual was put in strict isolation and a curfew was imposed within 15 minutes on strict orders without harming the supply of food & other essentials.
CAG members, community leaders, and religious gurus were approached and appealed to motivate the public to stay home. Initiatives were launched, appealing videos were made and few unwanted social elements faced legal action too. Nearly 600 vehicles were seized.
"Team of healthcare officials led by Chief Medical & Health Officer Dr. Mushtaq Khan did a commendable job, followed by tremendous efforts from the local administration and other staff," SP Mahawar said.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Dr. Mushtaq Khan, CMHO said, "We worked parallel on precaution and treatment, both were done together to control the outbreak. The main task was to identify the relatives of the first COVID-19 patient and isolate them. I would say that it was done on a war-footing level and everything got under control at the right time."
"We are regularly tracking the patients even after we release them. As of now, 11 patients have been discharged after 3 negative reports of each one of them. People trusted us, they supported us and with efforts from both the sides, today Bhilwara is standing strong and lockdown has played a major role in breaking the chain," he further added.
There are corona fighters in villages who are led by the corona captain, the SDM. They submit daily reports of the screenings in rural areas and if there is any sign of community spread.
"I can proudly say that as of now, the numbers have gone down. Whether it is food & supplies, police, home guards, medical workers, and the public, we are fighting the battle together & have almost come out of it," Rajendra Bhatt, District Magistrate, Bhilwara said.
"We have extended a total shut down for a few more days and people will get everything they need at their doorstep. No shop, dairy, the medical store will be open. If people want something, they will directly call us. For this, at least 4-5 control rooms of several departments are being operated," he said.
"It is a necessary step to control the outbreak and bring out a total COVID-19 free Bhilwara in the coming few days. With the pace we are getting desired results, we will stop this soon," he added.
The administration has acquired 42 hospitals with dedicated beds for positive patients, 1551 bed quarantine facilities prepared at hotels and other such establishments. Other than that, places have been identified where atleast 10-15,000 beds can be developed.
The senior officials are using every given chance to motivate their subordinates and have deployed 3-tier security for the healthcare officials. Barricading outside the premises, a check at the entrance gate and deployment of cops at the isolation ward. This has played a major role in making Bhilwara a role-model, to contain the outbreak with discipline.
Deputy SP has been deployed to look after sanitizing medical staff before they enter the premises or take the duty charge. 25-30 lakh screenings have been done in the past few days and daily reports are being sent to either the District Magistrate or Superintendent of Police.
For four days now, the city has not reported any positive patients. Once a hotspot with 26 patients, the district now has only 7 COVID-19 patients as 17 patients tested negative for the virus and two lost their lives to it.
"We sealed the city and later the whole district boundaries were strictly sealed. The population of the city has been screened at least 3 times now and people having normal cough & cold due to weather change (influenza-like illness), who were in thousands, were also checked and surveyed," Rajendra Bhatt, DM, Bhilwara said.