Covid-19: the Bhilwara model explained

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Covid-19: the Bhilwara model explained

Apr 16, 2020 22:45 IST

Located in the Mewar region of Rajasthan, Bhilwara is a town that is home to nearly 30 lakh people. Bhilwara is known as the textile city of India, but when it became the hotbed of a pandemic, it quickly earned the title of 'India's Italy'. But the district administration wasn't letting this title slide. In just about a week, Bhilwara went from among India's worst hotspots to zero new cases of coronavirus. The first positive case was reported in Bhilwara on March 19. One private hospital in the city was the epicentre of the whole crisis, with doctors and staff infected. In a few days, the number of cases shot up to 27 with two deaths. But By April 1, there were zero case. How did Bhilwara turn the corner? What followed was a 'ruthless' containment strategy executed with clockwork precision, immaculate coordination and extreme efficiency. The district administration decided on a complete shutdown in under an hour and Bhilwara was sealed off, much before the nationwide lockdown on March 25. The man behind it all, Rajendra Bhatt, Bhilwara's district collector. The 56-year-old IAS officer figured out a method in the madness. His strategy had six basic but crucial steps—isolate the district, map hotspots, door-to-door screening, aggressive contact tracing, ramp up quarantine, and put in place a monitoring mechanism. March 21: All factories, industries employing more than 10 people shut down March 22: All public transport from within and outside Bhilwara banned March 23: Hotels and resorts taken over by govt, asked to provide rooms for quarantine March 24: Guest houses of industries taken over, quarantine capacity raised to 6000 March 25: Hostels of educational institutions were taken over, a 24x7 war room set up March 26: 5 hospitals taken over along with staff and medical supplies for quarantine March 28: Suspects with symptoms isolated at home. 3,900 homeless people identified and given food and shelter March 29: Special teams set up to monitor that suspects don't step out, 24 hour survey ordered March 30: Door to door screening of 90% population done, migrants tested March 31: Infection peaks at 27 cases, authorities start doorstep delivery of milk and essentials Perhaps the most important thing of the Bhilwara model of containment was screening and testing. The administration conducted around 25,000 screenings in the entire district, the highest compared to the whole of Rajasthan. On the 6th April, the Union Health Ministry released a document ‘Containment Plan for Large Outbreaks’, hinting at replication of Bhilwara Model.

Covid-19