COVID-19: UP's Bundelkhand fairs well in lockdown despite reverse migration

Six of seven districts in Uttar Pradesh’s side of the Bundelkhand region implement lockdown successfully

By Arindam Ghosh
Published: Monday 27 April 2020
People pose next to a mural of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in Bundelkhand Photo: Arindam Ghosh
People pose next to a mural of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in Bundelkhand Photo: Arindam Ghosh People pose next to a mural of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in Bundelkhand Photo: Arindam Ghosh

A part of the Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh was successful in implementing the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to a letter issued by Avnish Awasthi, the additional chief secretary of the state’s home department on April 18, 2020.

There were three reported virus (SARS-CoV-2) infections in the entire Bundelkhand region of the part that is in UP. The region comprises of areas spread across southern Uttar Pradesh and northern Madhya Pradesh.

A 59-year-old woman in Jhansi tested positive for the virus (SARS-CoV-2) on April 27, while a doctor and his wife in the Jalaun district tested positive on April 26.

Forty-five of the 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh did not perform well in implementing the lockdown, according to the letter.

Six of the seven districts in Bundelkhand, however, were recognised as implementing the lockdown in a satisfactory manner, the letter said.

These include Jhansi, Lalitpur, Hamirpur, Chitrakoot, Banda and Mahoba.

Bundelkhand was comparatively safe compared to other districts despite an influx of thousands of migrant workers, who were forced to return to their home towns and villages, facing a long-term loss in their livelihood due to the lockdown.

Most of the migrants who worked in the National Capital Region had to undertake their journey home by foot as public transport was suspended after the lockdown was announced.

This made it tough for the local administration to find out who, if any, among the migrants could be a carrier of the infection.

Systematic planning along with a number of proactive measures including medical screening of most of the migrant workers, including door-to-door screening for the suspected patients was carried out.

A strict vigil was maintained in every house in the region’s rural areas. Centralised community kitchens and ration deposits were also conducted by the administration in the districts.

Active quick response teams also helped identify suspected patients.

Jhansi — the district that shares a border with Madhya Pradesh — had to seal its entry points with the state to avoid any possible influx of people from there.

“It is a herculean task, but with good team work of administration, police, doctors and local bodies, we were able to control COVID-19 with not a single case being reported till now,” said Andra Vamsi, Jhansi’s district magistrate.

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