COVID-19: Bhilwara Model sets example to break the chain

Once standing high with 27 patients, the district now has only 7 COVID-19 patients as reports of 17 have now come negative and two lost their lives due to other illnesses


New Delhi: Bhilwara, once labeled as the epicenter of COVID-19, is coming back on track after the dedicated efforts of the Rajasthan Government and local administration. Healthcare workers, home guards, police personnel, government officials and every other individual related to the screening of COVID-19 patients are working without any leaves, almost all hours a day. It’s just not the duty they are serving, it’s a city, a state and a country they are saving.

The first case in Rajasthan was reported on March 2, 2020 and strict actions were taken in the state on the very first day. “Nearly 5 crore people are screened and 1 crore 17 lakh household have been tested till now. Things were also controlled with imposition of curfew and today, 34 places are under curfew in Rajasthan,” said Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot.

Adding further, the Chief Minister said, “2 km area of a person found COVID-19 positive is sealed and checks are done. Today, out of total number of positives in Rajasthan, nearly 30-32 are the evacuees from Iran at Jaisalmer & Jodhpur. People with travel history or any contact with positive patients are being isolated and checked. The only worry is of people who are coming out positive and have no history of either travel or contact.”

“Officials of the Central government are in touch with the Chief Secretary and they mention Bhilwara whenever they have video conferencing. We sealed the borders the day we got to know about the case of the doctor being positive with the virus in Bhilwara and it is becoming a learning ground after the commendable efforts.” ”22 lakhs families from villages, nearly 10 lakh households in the city were tested and that’s how Bhilwara is today an example in the fight against corona in India,” said Mr Gehlot.

In India, few hotspots of COVID-19 were listed, which were also known as the epicenters of coronavirus. Bhilwara emerged as one from Rajasthan in the list of 10 major spots. At one time, 12 out of 18 cases of the state were from here and Bhilwara was leading the tally. With 27 cases, the district was considered the worst hit in Rajasthan and for a few days, at the national level too.

But following the hard work & efforts, the city is now standing tall with 17 recoveries with 11 discharged. “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 Bangar Hospital, where it all began, might be staying,” said Harendra Mahawar, SP, Bhilwara. He further added, more than 5,000 people were listed who were consulted by the COVID-19 positive doctor of Bangar Hospital. Patients of IPD and OPD were also screened.

To break the chain of contamination, nearly 6,000 people were identified and put under isolation in only 2 days. The struggle just began as patients of almost 19 districts and 4 states were in the hospital when a sudden rise of positive patients was reported. 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. CLG 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 have also been seized.

Chief Medical & Health Officer, Dr Mushtaq Khan who did a commendable job along with other healthcare staff said, “We worked on precaution and treatment, both were done together to control the outbreak.The main task was to identify the relatives of the first 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.” Adding further, “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.”

Speaking on the developments, Rajendra Bhatt, District Magistrate, Bhilwara said, “We have deployed corona fighters in villages who are led by the corona captain, the SDM. They submit daily reports on 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 and each & every department is working together to fight this pandemic. 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.” “We have extended a total shutdown 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, whether it is medicine, food or anything else. For this, at least 4-5 control rooms of several departments are being operated and we are fulfilling demands. 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.” As Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has promised ‘koi bhuka nahi soyega’ (nobody will sleep hungry), we are making every essential reach household as per their demand.

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 if needed, an infrastructure of 10-15,000 beds can be developed. The senior officials are using every given chance to motivate their subordinates and have also deployed 3-tier security for the healthcare officials. A barricading outside the premises, a check at the entrance gate and a deployment of cops at the isolation ward has played a major role in making Bhilwara a role-model to hold the outbreak with discipline. Deputy SP has been deployed who looks 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 and Superintendent of Police.

For 3 days now, the city which was named COVID-19 patients very frequently has reported only 1 positive who had a history of visiting the corona affected hospital. Adding another feather in the cap, the hard work and dedication of district administration has also recovered patients. Once standing high with 27 patients, the district now has only 7 COVID-19 patients as reports of 17 have now come negative and two lost their lives due to other illnesses.

“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. Those having symptoms were put under isolation or quarantine. People also cooperated and it was under control. There was a time when Rajasthan had 18 patients and 12 were from Bhilwara,” said Rajendra Bhatt, DM, Bhilwara.