Raj Nagar, one of city's largest containment zones, breathes sigh of relief as lockdown measures eased

New Delhi: Residents of Delhi's Raj Nagar, which is one of the biggest containment zones in the city, heaved a sigh of relief as movement was allowed on the road after months of strict restrictions. The area, which houses a population of about 40,000 became a hotspot in late May, with numerous COVID-19 cases being reported from different areas.

"Initially, there were two blocks, which were closed. Both Block – L and Block H witnessed a lot of cases. The whole street was shut then," said Garima, a resident of Raj Nagar – 2.

The area, in South West Delhi, was declared as a containment zone in the first of July, after the Delhi government had decided to remap containment zones, following which the number of such zones had shot up dramatically in the city. The move came in the backdrop of surging cases in June, which required officials to strategise better ways of surveilling larger populations.

However, recently, the revenue department had relooked at containment zones in the area, dividing them up into smaller ones in light of a seemingly improving situation. "During the initial days stepping out of the house was also prohibited. This eased a while back only, but people were still not coming out," Garima said.

The area is replete with narrow alleys and closely connected houses. According to residents, milk shops opened in the morning and evening, while vegetable vendors were allowed to come. People also used online means to order groceries. ATMs were also shut.

According to district officials, regular tests and surveys were conducted in the area. "We took close to 700 tests per day, while a team was sent to conduct surveys," said an official at the SDM office. Every house was covered, while families of all areas were tested.

"During the intensive review, we found that the containment zone in South West Delhi's H & F Block in Raj Nagar part II, Palam Colony, was the biggest in terms of the population under lockdown. It had 43,000 residents living in it. We broke it down into smaller zones and now only 1,600 people are impacted after the restructuring. Similarly, Central Delhi's A, B and E2 Blocks in Shastri

Nagar had 36,423 people under containment. This has now reduced to 1,200 people," Gahlot had said.

"If one had a medical emergency they called the health department who took cognizance of the whole situation," said Raju, who owns a dairy shop in the area.

The Delhi government recently brought down the number of containment zones in the city by over 200, bringing relief to as many as 241,888 people from following stringent lockdown rules.

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