Despite the MHA’s order to demarcate containment zones and make them public, in Hyderabad information about the zones have not been revealed to the public.

Man picking up waste near CharminarRepresentative Image: PTI
Coronavirus Coronavirus Tuesday, July 07, 2020 - 15:21

Despite a surge in the number of cases, for around a month now there has been no official intimation about containment zones in Hyderabad. After failing to find information anywhere online and from state officials, TNM took to Twitter to ask Hyderabad residents if they knew about the city’s containment zones.

The tweet received over 75 replies, most of which expressed shock, and in turn enquired if containment zones really existed in the city.

It may be noted that in an order released on June 29, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asked the Chief Secretaries of all states to extend the lockdown in containment zones until July 31. The same order also asked states to re-open more activities in a calibrated manner in all areas outside the containment zones.

As part of the guidelines issued by the ministry for phased reopening as part of Unlock 2, the MHA mentioned: “All containment zones will be demarcated by the District authorities after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW with the objective of breaking the chain of transmission. These containment zones will be notified on the websites by the respective District Collectors and by the states/UTs and the information will be shared with the MoHFW.”

But in Hyderabad and rest of Telangana, the government does not reveal containment zones to media, on any website, to residents or even to the court.

When TNM contacted Hyderabad Collector Swetha Mohanty on the lack of information about the city’s containment zones, she was quick to respond, “Talk to the GHMC Commissioner about containment zones.”

As directed, when TNM reached out to GHMC Commissioner Lokesh Kumar, he said, “Yes, Hyderabad has containment zones. The Telangana government has decided to not reveal any details about the same. The GHMC does not have any stand on the matter.”

When asked if he could at least reveal the number of such containment zones, he replied, “The state government’s decision is to not reveal any details about the same. We haven’t disclosed it anywhere. The government has to make a decision about the same.”

This is in clear violation of the MHA’s order to demarcate containment zones and make them public.

As of July 6, according to the Telangana medical bulletin, there are 10,646 active COVID-19 cases in the state and 306 lives have been lost. On a daily basis, out of the total cases in the state, a majority of the cases are reported from GHMC limits. On July 6, out of the 1,831 positive cases reported, 1,419 cases were from GHMC limits in Hyderabad.

Despite such high numbers, the state government seemingly believes it is not required to publish the list of containment zones. If the list is made public, residents feel it would help them avoid containment zones and be more cautious, which would also have helped in breaking the chain of transmission. 

Though in the month of March and April, GHMC was declaring containment zones and even putting up posters, the veil of secrecy started in May. While other cities like Chennai and Bengaluru continue to declare containment zones on a daily basis, giving their residents a chance to be careful, Hyderabad has chosen secrecy over safety.

Read:

12 containment clusters set up in Hyderabad to check COVID-19 spread

Telangana records 1,831 new COVID-19 cases, state death toll reaches 306

 

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