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Covid-19: Delhi’s Dilshad Garden 1st hotspot to be declared virus-free: Health Minister

Dilshad Garden in northeast Delhi is the first novel coronavirus hotspot to be declared infection-free, Health Minister Satyendra Jain told the news agency today. Under an extensive exercised codenamed “Operation Shield” the Delhi government set up 123 medical teams to screen over 15,000 people living in 4,032 houses in the area before declaring it “coronavirus-free”

The neighbourhood was locked down and declared a hotspot in the last week of March, after a woman who returned from Saudi Arabia tested positive for the virus; two family members, including her son, were also infected. This sparked a massive contact-tracing exercise that included the use of CCTV camera to reveal 81 potential coronavirus cases.

“We screened every house and all potential coronavirus cases were hospitalised. In the last 10 days no new cases have been revealed in Dilshad Garden,” Mr Jain told NDTV.

Eight COVID-19 cases have been identified from Dilshad Garden as a result of “Operation Shield”.

The Delhi government has now begun similar protocols in other hotspots around the national capital, with Mr Jain asserting “every house” will be screened for people showing symptoms of the contagious virus.

On Wednesday Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia revealed a list of 20 hotspots in Delhi, including the famous Sadar Bazar and Dilshad Garden

Other areas identified included parts of Mayur Vihar and Patparganj in east Delhi and Malviya Nagar in the south. The Markaz Masjid, where the Tablighi Jamaat gathering was held, and the Nizamuddin Basti neighbourhood, where the 100-year-old complex is located, were also on the list.

The government has assured door delivery of essential items to all residents in these areas.

The Delhi government has also made face masks compulsory for all people who step out of their homes. Similar orders have been issued in Mumbai, Chandigarh, Odisha and Nagaland.

Delhi has reported over 700 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, with around 60 per cent of these cases linked to the Jamaat gathering. At least 12 deaths have been linked to the virus.

Across India there are nearly 6,000 active cases and 199 people have died. Worldwide the virus, which originated in China’s Wuhan district in December last year, has infected around 16 lakh people and killed over 95,000.

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