The spread of Covid-19 is similar to that of H1N1

NEW DELHI: The geographical distribution of has a strikingly similar pattern with that of H1N1 Influenza in 2009, suggesting that while population spread may be high, it is unlikely to affect all parts of the country uniformly, the government said in its containment plan for major outbreaks.

The plan, released Saturday, details post-closure measures to deal with large outbreaks where efforts will focus on active surveillance in identified geographic areas along with the implementation of strict perimeter control. In addition, intensified testing may be required among all suspected cases, high-risk contacts, and those with severe acute respiratory infection.

“The current geographic distribution of Covid-19 mimics the distribution of H1N1 pandemic influenza… This calls for a differential approach to different regions of the country, while mounting strong containment efforts in hotspots,” the plan said.

The government has developed the containment plan as groups have emerged that are at high risk of further spread of Covid-19 cases in various states such as Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Telangana, Delhi and the UT of Ladakh.

Based on the risk assessment conducted in the containment plan, 211 districts across the country have reported Covid-19 cases and the risk of further spread remains very high.

The group containment strategy will be to contain the disease within a defined geographical area by early detection of cases, breaking the chain of transmission and preventing its spread to new areas.

The document details a strategic approach for possible scenarios, such as cases related to travel, local transmission, large outbreaks susceptible to containment, and widespread community transmission, as long as India becomes endemic to Covid-19.

The document said: Containment of large outbreaks through the geographic quarantine strategy requires an almost absolute disruption of the movement of people to and from a relatively large defined area where there is a large outbreak or multiple foci of local transmission.

In simple terms, it is a barrier erected around the focus of infection. Geographic quarantine will apply to those areas that report large outbreaks and/or multiple groups of Covid-19 distributed in multiple blocks in one or more contiguous districts.

According to the document, the authorities will carry out an extensive contact tracing and an active search for cases in the containment area, evaluate all suspicious cases and high-risk contacts, isolate all suspected or confirmed cases, implement measures of social distancing and Intensive risk communication as part of a conglomerate containment strategy.

For large outbreaks susceptible to containment, the documents say the strategy will remain the same but will vary in extent depending on the spread and the response that will be mounted to contain it.