Reason: Most residents of these areas don’t follow social distancing, get into homes only when cops arrive
Chennai: People living in the marked hotspot areas in Chennai are petrified as most residents do not follow the order to stay indoors.
Shivaranjini GK, a resident of Pudupet, rued that the whole area is blocked. “Nobody can neither go out nor come inside the area. The vegetable and grocery stores are closed for a few weeks now. The situation is scary. Everyone in the area is petrified. Once a week, vegetables are sold outside a park nearby. People go there to buy. Drone cameras are fitted and the police are keeping a close eye on the locality.”
Mohammad Asardeen A, another resident of the same area, said people living in a slum nearby do not follow any of the Covid-19 prevention guidelines. “Boys play on and roam the streets. They only go inside their houses when the police come on their rounds.”
Residents of the area are afraid to step out of their homes to buy essentials.
Anna Nagar is the zone with most number of suspected cases. Madhumitha R, who lives in the area, said: “I saw it on TV news that Anna Nagar is marked as a Covid-19 hotspot. We have police deployed on the streets. Disinfectants are being sprayed on the walls of houses every day. Even though the lockdown is for our good, we are not sure we won’t contract the disease. In my apartment, everyone is managing with whatever they have at home to avoid going to shops.”
Shakti Bharati, a resident of Zamin Pallavaram, was scared in the beginning. “But what can we do about this? Here, the police do not allow water cans to be delivered in houses. So the vendor keeps them near the barricade from where we have to collect them. The municipality has arranged the sales of vegetables and fruits. Three police personnel are deployed to keep a watch 24/7.”
Shakti is happy that volunteers help elderly people living in the area.
On people not following guidelines even after Royapuram was declared a hotspot, Priyanka K, a resident of the area, said: “Every day there is an increase in the number of cases. But people here are not acting like they are aware of the consequences they will face if they don’t follow the quarantine rules. Each day feels like a year.”
K Govindsamy, a head constable of the Kothavalchavadi station, Parrys, goes on rounds in the hotspot areas. He complained that only people living in the hotspots follow the rules. ‘”Others do not even follow social distancing. People should take staying indoors as a responsibility.”
An official from the Covid-19 control room who refused to share his name said: “We get a list of infected patients from government hospitals. We track their families and others who came in contact with them and send their samples for testing. Areas that have high number of Covid-19 confirmed cases are declared hotspots. Policemen are deployed there to make sure that people stay indoors. We also send doctors to screen them.”
The assistant PRO of the Greater Chennai Corporation refused to speak with this reporter on the measures being taken to contain the virus in the hotspots.
Arul Selvan, a doctor from Chennai, said people have to realize the importance of the situation and act wisely. “People living in hotspots or red zones were advised to not come out unnecessarily, and were informed to take precautions. The general precaution is to wash their hands with soap and follow social distancing if they go out. The situation can be improved only if people follow the guidelines. People living in the hotspots needn’t fear because the government is taking adequate steps to contain the virus.”
Dr. Kasturi, a psychiatrist, shared: “Maintaining mental health is very important during the lockdown. We are all stressed mentally because of what we see on TV and what we read in the newspapers about Covid-19. Though things are challenging, we have to manage them in a calm way. It is natural to get scared when someone lives in a red zone. Positive thinking, yoga and meditation can help them keep their mind relaxed and stay healthy. This is the best holiday to spend time with family and work on hobbies.”
According to news reports, Tamil Nadu (with 1,242 cases) has the third highest number of Covid-19 cases reported after Maharashtra and Delhi.
The Greater Chennai Corporation has launched an app called “GCC Corona Monitoring” which will allow people with Covid-19 symptoms, like fever, to upload a photo of their house which will send their location to the Corporation. On April 15, 2020, the app was updated with a new feature called “Containment Hotspots” which allows people to check zones across the city. According to a News Minute report, a boundary of 5 km from the infected patient’s house is earmarked as a containment zone.
On April 16, 2020, News7 Tamil tweeted that Tamil Nadu health department officials have asked government doctors not to give any details about Covid-19 to news media.
To locate the hotspots in Chennai, click here.
Image Credit: K Govindasamy