INDIA: The Agra Model has emerged as the ‘Best Model’ for successfully tackling cluster containment. As the number of confirmed cases in India continue to rise, there is a need to come up with effective containment strategies, apart from the lockdown, to tackle COVID-19 and prevent it from further spreading.

For this, the Centre on Saturday praised Agra’s containment model for its effectiveness and has also shared it with other states as a best model practice, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement on Saturday evening. An IE report stated that the model was discussed in the meeting which had been convened by the Cabinet Secretary with district magistrates recently, and was also discussed during a meeting held at the highest political level.

A senior official associated with the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, who oversaw the combing operations, briefed about the Agra Containment Model, said “The confirmation from the airport tests came at 2 am; we got into action immediately. A 3-km radius around the house was sealed and 259 teams were formed of two members each. We covered 1.63 lakh households in a few days, took about 1000 samples, used S N Medical College as our base. It was an exercise where nothing could be left to chance — a security guard was roped in to supply daily needs to the families.”

He further added,”Each team covered about 100 homes per day; doctors sat at a nearby civil dispensary, and people who showed symptoms could visit them. The State, District administration and frontline workers coordinated their efforts by utilizing their existing Smart City Integrated with Command and Control Centre (ICCC) as War Rooms. Under the cluster containment and outbreak containment plans, the district administration identified epicentres, delineated impact of positive confirmed cases on the map and deployed a special task force as per the micro plan made by the district administration. The hotspots were managed through an active survey and containment plan. Area was identified within radius of 3 Km from the epicenter while 5 Km buffer zone was identified as the containment zone.”

He also informed, “In the containment zone, Urban Primary Health Centres were roped in. Each of the 1,248 teams had 2 workers including ANMs/ASHA/AWW reaching out to 9.3 lakh people through household screening. Additionally, effective and early tracking of first contact tracing was thoroughly mapped”.

The Agra model is important because it has proved effective in areas of high case density, which are being referred to as “hotspots”. Agra was also the earliest reference to community transmission in an official statement. Community transmission is said to have happened when cases start being detected where there are no clear indications of travel history to an affected country, or of contact with a confirmed positive cases