Move to lock-up patients in containment zone backfires

Officials locking up a house in the containment zone in Jogulamba-Gadwal district.

Officials locking up a house in the containment zone in Jogulamba-Gadwal district.   | Photo Credit: By Arrangement

Gadwal administration backtracks after facing flak for locking houses

Jogulamba-Gadwal district authorities ‘locked up’ some houses in containment zones from outside to prevent the residents from venturing out. However, the officials backtracked within hours as the experiment drew severe criticism from the public.

The officials in the presence of Gadwal Municipal Commissioner Narsimha and a sub-inspector of police put locks on at least half a dozen houses in Nallakunta and Ramnagar areas of the town to ensure ‘strict’ enforcement of lockdown.

Gadwal, one of the eight COVID-19 hotspot districts in Telangana, reported 45 positive cases, out of whom 10 patients recovered and were discharged, while one succumbed. Currently, the Gadwal town has seven containment zones, and four in another mandal.

When contacted, a senior official in the district administration maintained that they had to resort to such an unconventional measure to demonstrate to the residents how strict the lockdown can be. “We have locked more than six houses in the town preventing people from coming out while installing the barricades in their areas. We wanted to show them how lockdown is implemented in the red zone to contain the spread of deadly coronavirus,” the officer said.

They locked the house of a positive patient and his adjoining house in Ramnagar.

While another officer said that the decision of locking the houses with the residents inside was taken after getting a nod from senior officials as people were not following their repeated instructions and were moving out freely in the area.

“It was needed to curb their movement. People are not listening and we did it for their own safety by keeping top officials in the loop,” he said requesting anonymity.

However, authorities soon received flak from the public and backtracked, with the locks remaining on doors for no more than a day or even less.

Sources said that the officers were worried over the increasing number of cases from Kurnool after several persons from Gadwal visited a lady doctor in Kurnool, who subsequently died of COVID-19.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 2:21:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/move-to-lock-up-patients-in-containment-zone-backfires/article31457008.ece

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