The Government of India (GOI) has put no districts of Assam in red zone creating confusion as Assam Health Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma has announced that Morigaon,. Bongaigaon, Dhubri and Goalpara will remain red zone.
But in a detailed order issued by Union Health Sectary Preeti Sudan following a video Conference with all the Chief Secretaries of the country released a state-wise list showing no red districts in Assam.
According to the list, only three districts are in the orange zone and 30 are in the green zone while no districts are in the red zone. This list do not tally with Assam Government's last announced zonification.
The strategy of the Union Government appears to reduce the red zone and instead of making the whole district red, the order suggested more specific areas like Municipal bodies to be made red or containment zone.
The GoI order said -"Some states have raised issues on the inclusion of certain districts in red-zone, I would like to highlight that this is a dynamic list. The list will be revised on a weekly basis or earlier and communicated to states for further follow-up action in consonance with the directions issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. The list of the districts as per above classification is attached herewith in Annexure".
"It is further highlighted that based on field feedback and additional analysis at the state level, states may designate additional red or orange zones as appropriate. However, states may not relax the zonal classification of districts classified as communicated by the Ministry" the order said.
For the districts having one or more municipal corporations, the corporations and other areas of districts may be treated as separate units. If one or more of these units have reported no cases for the last 21 days, they can be considered as one level lower in zonal classification, in case the district is in Red/Orange Zone. District authorities should, however, exercise due caution in such areas so that these areas remain free from COVID19 cases. the order said.
It is critical to ensure that necessary action for containment so as to break the chain of transmission of the virus is initiated in both red and orange zone districts reporting confirmed cases.
The order further said – the area should be appropriately defined by the district administration/local urban body with technical inputs from the local level. In the spirit of effective containment, it is advisable to err on the side of caution. Further, a buffer zone around the containment zone has to be demarcated.