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Health authorities are focusing on four areas in the 4 km radius of northeast Delhi's Dilshad Garden locality after several confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported. According to experts, the locality has reported the beginning of limited community spread as the source of the patient's infection is unclear in many of these cases.
The Delhi government officials have declared these four areas as containment areas with each having a focal point (the person who might have infected others). The authorities on Monday, April 6, identified and declared three of these containment areas- two separate blocks of GTB Enclave and one in Dilshad Colony. Officials, however, are yet to establish travel or contact history of the focal patients in these areas.
"One of the blocks (in GTB Enclave) is linked to a nurse from Delhi State Cancer Institute who tested positive and the other is linked to an old man. We are not sure where he got the infection from," Hindustan Times quoted a senior Delhi government official as saying.
As many as ten nurses from the Delhi State Cancer Institute in GTB enclave tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, April 6, with the hospital's tally increasing to 18. The institute has now decided to test all 48 of its patients.
"We have sent all samples for COVID-19 testing. If they test negative, patients will be moved to various private hospitals. However, if they test positive, they will be taken to the nearby Rajiv Gandhi Superspeciality Hospital, which is a dedicated COVID-19 centre," said an official from the Delhi State Cancer Institute.
A middle-aged man (the focal patient) with unclear history (meaning no foreign travel or no established contact with a COVID-19 positive case) tested positive for COVID-19 in the Dilshad Colony containment area.
The fourth containment area has links to two mohalla clinic doctors practising in Dilshad Garden.
A 38-year-old woman returned from Saudi Arabia on March 10 and passed on the infection to at least 11 people including the two mohalla clinic doctors, following which the J and K blocks of Dilshad Garden were declared containment areas. The officials were unable to establish the source of infection of a patient in Maujpur in the same cluster.
There was no direct contact between this patient and the woman who returned from Saudi.
"In hotspots, some community spread may be occurring," said Randeep Guleria, director, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and a member of the national task force on COVID-19.
According to Jacob John, professor emeritus and former head of virology at Christian Medical College, Vellore, community transmission was happening in the Dilshad Garden containment areas.
"Now, we should not focus so much on getting the history of the patient and figuring out where they might have got the infection from…We must focus on keeping people out of hospitals. And, to slow the community spread, everyone must wear masks," he said.
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