At least 70 families in two lanes of Chandni Mahal have been stayed in containment for the past 88 days — the longest duration for which restrictions were imposed in any part of the city to curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease.

The residents are now clamouring for easing of restrictions but the district officials asserted that till cases are emerging from the area, there cannot be any let up in the containment measures. On April 10, Chandni Mahal was sealed with only one entry and exit remaining open.Before the area was unsealed on June 6, 89 cases had been reported from there. However, the two lanes — Gali Chhatta Lal Miyan and Gali Dakotan — remained closed.

Though officials said cases were still surfacing in the two lanes, local residents said the last known case was reported on June 1 and the infected woman has fully recovered. As per the protocol, the administration waits for at least 28 days since the last case before unsealing a containment zone.

The residents also complained that their life has come to a halt as they have been marooned in their locality and facing difficulty in managing essential items and daily chores. “After June first week, the main road outside was opened. Police barricades were removed. Chandni Mahal residents were allowed to move out but for us, it has been like a prisoner’s life. Even the building (Markaz) at Nizamuddin was removed from the list of containment in lesser time compared to us,” said Shoaib, 45, a resident.

Mohammed Malik, 33, a resident of Chhatta Lal Miyan, said, “We give the address of our friends (living outside contained lanes) to get online deliveries. Our friends collect those items and hand it to us over the police barricades. From cell phone battery chargers to gas cylinders, this is how we have been managing. We don’t know how long our troubles are going to continue,” Malik said.

Till Tuesday, Delhi had 454 containment zones.

Junaid, 24, another resident of the Chatta Lal Miyan, said his brother had written to the sub-divisional magistrate office last Friday, urging lifting of containment measures. He said his aunt had tested positive following which the lane was sealed. “My aunt had tested positive on June 1 at the Lok Nayak hospital where she regularly went for dialysis. She was admitted at the hospital and returned on June 12. She has completed her home quarantine too. My aunt is fully recovered but the government is yet to remove containment measures,” he said.

Nidhi Srivastava, district magistrate (central), said regular door-to-door surveys are being conducted in the area. “Our teams are collecting samples from the restricted area. We are also ensuring that home delivery of essential items is maintained. For this purpose, we have deployed civil defence volunteers and also distributed contact numbers of designated vendors and traders to the residents,” she said.

“Nearly 6,000 cases were reported from the central district and most of them are from Old Delhi areas. Some fresh cases were reported last month (from the two lanes) so they could not be unsealed. We are closely monitoring the situation,” the DM said.

The area councillor , Ale Mohammad, said though the locality is congested and there were chances of virus spreading rapidly but no fresh cases were reported from the two lanes in the last 15-20 days.

“There is no need to keep the lanes under containment. For over three months, residents of these localities are facing trouble in procuring necessary items as they are unable to move out,” he said.

District officials, however, said two new cases were reported from Gali Dakotan on June 22 and therefore, it cannot be unsealed.

Officials said, as per guidelines, any area is declared containment zone when three or more cluster cases appear from there but it also depends on the demographics of the area. If an area is densely populated and is congested like localities in old city, it can be made containment zone even when the number of cases is less than three and the risk factor is high. Any area is declared containment zones only after due survey and risk assessment in the region.

Besides the two Chandni Mahal lanes, other areas which have been remained in containment for at least 50 days include Pratap Khand in east Delhi, Block B and C in Jahangirpuri and Zakir Nagar in Jamia Nagar.

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