COVID-19: Govt issues guidelines to be followed in Red Zones

Special Coverage about Coronavirus

JAMMU — Jammu and Kashmir Government on Tuesday issued guidelines (SOPs) to be followed in the areas declared as COVID-19 “Red Zones” in the Union Territory of J&K for delivery of essential supplies, services and to curb the spread of community transmission by enforcing restrictions already imposed under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been notified in an order issued by Chief Secretary, B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, in exercise of powers conferred upon him, in the capacity as the Chairperson of State Executive Committee, under Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

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As per the order, areas with a significant number of cases or where there is suspicion of cluster transmission, based on assessment by DC & CMO, with the advice of the SP as well, will be declared as ‘RED ZONES’ by Deputy Commissioner concerned.

The mapping (size of perimeter) of Red Zone shall be done depending upon size of habitation, geographic distribution of +ve cases, proximity to other habitations, accessibility, geographical barriers, mobility of COVID +ve person, etc. Intelligent demarcation of boundaries of the Red Zone will be done using roads, natural barriers, etc.

The Red Zone will see a 100% lockdown and shall be completely sealed for any movement across its boundaries. No outward or inward movement would be allowed. As far as possible, there shall be only be one opening to the red zone to be manned by Naka party and Magistrate. Stickers indicating Red Zone would be present at the point of entry / exit.

The only movement across the red zone boundaries would be for supplies (medical, grocery, vegetables), medical emergencies, fumigation/sanitation, and enforcement/survey personnel.

All entry and exit to the zone would be with red zone passes and proper fumigation of vehicles, safety of personnel and safety tunnels. Surrounding villages/habitations will be declared as Buffer Zones.

The entire Red Zone will be under surveillance and the people will be contacted periodically for rechecking for symptoms. There would be a 100% survey and screening of all persons in the red zone. The surveillance procedure has already been issued and will be reissued with improvements. The results of survey shall be integrated with ‘Aarogya Setu’ as much as possible.

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There would be intensive testing of all contacts (already being done), of neighbours and of all those with symptoms. In addition, there would be random sampling test. A detailed health screening of the contacts and all souls within 300m will be carried out, the survey results would be geo-mapped.

As load increases, doctors will not have time to do contact tracing. Therefore, separate teams will be constituted for contact tracing, so that the doctors can handle medical load.

Tehsildar or other suitable officer will be overall administrator of concerned Red Zone. He will be assisted by Tehsil Supply Officer, Tehsil Social Welfare Officer, Jr. Engineer (PDD/PHE), Pharmacists, to provide essential services, food, medicines etc. System of passes for essential services or emergency will be set up and all necessary precautions before entering/leaving red zones shall be followed.

Dedicated Control Rooms shall be established for all Red Zones individually or in groups depending upon size of the Red Zone which can also be integrated with helpline/call centre to address the needs of residents. Designated officers will ensure provision of essential commodities while taking necessary precautions and using protective gear.

All common/public places within the red zone will be fumigated twice a day. All Ambulances on Duty / Supply vehicles entering / leaving the red zone shall be fumigated. Extra cleanliness drives all around shall be carried. Departments like PDD and PHE will ensure regular electricity and water supply respectively to the red zone. They will activate helplines to address any complaints on priority – or common control room as above can be used. Banking arrangements such a mobile ATM or any other facilitation will be ensured.

In-case of any emergency, whether medical or otherwise, permission for movement will be provided by concerned SDM / Tehsildar. A medical team shall be placed in the adjoining buffer zone to cater to any medical emergency that might arise.

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In case of a medical emergency requiring hospitalisation, the same shall be certified by the concerned BMO and the patient along with one attendant only should be duly red stamped and then shifted in ambulance for further treatment. For non-COVID medical treatment, DCs will make some parallel arrangements in select locations, particularly for issues such as dialysis and pregnancies.

All frontline staff especially medical personnel will be protected from violence and cared for. No lawlessness will be tolerated. Vehicles will be allotted for medical staff movement. If necessary, vehicles will be withdrawn from others. Protection gear as prescribed for staff working in red zones will be provided. Medical staff handling suspects/attending patients will be provided with PPE’s. There will be dedicated staff/ambulance and PPEs to shift patients to administrative quarantine/hospitals.

Volunteers will be roped in for assistance and for ensuring home deliveries, to also be motivated to ensure that no movement / gathering takes place inside red zone, to create database of influencers in the village like religious leaders, Government servants, PRI members and utilize them in spreading awareness and ensuring total lockdown.

Panchayat COVID AMCs will be used for surveillance, mask promotion, welfare measures.

To resolve grievances quickly, an effective mechanism under a local officer will be set up. High degree of communication will be maintained. All important information will be publicised regularly through electronic and social media for sensitization of all and queries shall be answered.

Announcements will be made through PA systems on DOs & DONTs, advise to stay at home, social distancing, hand hygiene. Pamphlets will be distributed during surveillance/door to door survey by surveillance teams.

For ensuring general safety and other measures, universal usage of face masks shall be ensured in the red zone village/areas and Ayush medicines will be promoted for immunity enhancement.

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