Hyderabad: With the number of COVID-19 cases rising alarmingly in Hyderabad, the city’s municipality is short of staff to enforce containment measures. Hard-pressed staff are rushing through containment measures in affected localities, telling residents to clean their houses with Lizol: just mix a spoonful of the disinfectant in a litre of water and mop the most-touched surfaces with it.
What’s making the task more difficult is that a good proportion of the staff are needed for monsoon-related duties at the same time.
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) are vastly constrained by the lag in getting information about COVID-19 breakouts in the city's localities. They get fresh data only about fresh breakouts after four days from the health department. When the cases are notified, GHMC staff are rushed to the affected locality with a bucketful of sodium hypochlorite.
Until mid-May, GHMC's entomology staff deployed on COVID-19 duty manned no more than 180 containment zones. Since then, the number has increased rapidly, and number of affected house clusters ballooned to 1,165 on Wednesday.
Though 302 COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday for instance, the health department is yet to share the details with GHMC to take up containment activities.
“With the number of cases rising, we are not able to deploy teams to man the house clusters as our entomology staff are busy in monsoon-related work. The staff has been performing fogging and anti-larval operations aggressively to prevent the spread of other infectious diseases,” a top GHMC official told Deccan Chronicle.
The state has in the mean time stepped up its testing for the coronavirus. About 4,000 tests have been done in Hyderabad in the past three days and 15-18 per cent have tested positive. “It’s impossible for the entomology staff to attend to 250-300 houses per day to carry out containment duties. Apart from the house clusters, the teams have to spray disinfectant in the entire apartment or lane, which means the staff have to cover at least 2,000 households per day for mere containment,” he said.
Adding to the woes, the disinfectant sprayed in the vicinity of affected house clusters is getting washed off in the rain. He said people should take care of themselves and not entirely depend on the corporation....