New Delhi: The Centre has drawn up a cluster containment strategy to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus within a defined geographic area, once the 21-day national lockdown comes to an end on April 14. According to a Union Health ministry document, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Telangana, Delhi and Ladakh have been identified as high-risk states, reported PTI. Also Read - IRCTC Latest News: Railways Increases Advance Booking Period For All Trains From 30 to 120 Days

The cluster containment strategy would “include geographic quarantine, social distancing measures, enhanced active surveillance, testing all suspected cases, isolation of cases, quarantine of contacts and risk communication to create awareness among the public on preventive public health measures”, it said. Also Read - Nepal Airport Under Renovation Amid Coronavirus Lockdown



As far as the evidence for implementing geographic quarantine is concerned, the document said the “current geographic distribution of COVID-19 mimics the distribution of H1N1 pandemic influenza”. “This suggests that while the spread of COVID-19 in our population could be high, it’s unlikely that it will be uniformly affecting all parts of the country,” the ministry said, stressing that this calls for a differential approach to different regions of the country while mounting a strong containment effort in hot spots. Also Read - Bangladesh Govt Decides Not to Extend COVID-19 Shutdown

On Saturday, India reached the halfway point in the 21-day coronavirus lockdown. Some states and rail and airline operators were considering measures to relax restrictions in phases from April 15.



Railways

According to sources, all the 17 railway zones and divisions are preparing plans to identity trains for a phased resumption of operations from April 15, taking into account the availability of rakes. Passenger services were suspended from March 25 for 21 days due to the national lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

A Railways official, however, said no final decision has been taken on the restoration of passenger train services. “Train services will have to be resumed only on specific approval of each train from Railway Board. Suggestions for phase-wise planning should be given to Railway Board,” an official said on Saturday.

States

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the state government was considering relaxation of the lockdown restrictions in a staggered manner. “Discussions are on about whether the lockdown can be relaxed in phases. Strict rules will have to be followed in the containment zones,” Tope said in a live webcast.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the lifting of lockdown in the state will depend upon the compliance by people to the government directives. He reiterated that no permission will be granted to religious or sporting events in the state till further notice to avoid mass gathering of people.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also discussed the detailed action plan with his officials for the state to follow after the lockdown comes to an end

“The boundaries of the state are international, inter-state and inter-district. Thus, movements at these places will also have to be taken care of,” he was quoted as having said in an official statement released by the state government.

Flights

Budget carrier AirAsia India said bookings for its flights are open from April 15, but it is open to any change in case aviation regulator DGCA issues fresh directives on resumption. Domestic and international commercial flights in the country are suspended till April 14. Most of the airlines have commenced taking bookings for their flights from April 15 onwards. On Thursday, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said airlines are free to take ticket bookings for any date after April 14. IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir said they are taking bookings for domestic flights starting April 15. In the case of SpiceJet and GoAir, they have started selling tickets for international flights from May 1.

(With PTI Inputs)