COVID-19 in Chennai: How these two slums in the city battled and become virus-free?

While the Tamil Nadu government has been endured with a huge challenge of containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chennai, two slums that sit on the outskirts of the city have become a model and sent a lesson on how the rest of the areas can be free of COVID-19 like them after they reported no positive cases for the past few days. 

Curbing the pandemic is always a challenge and burden for people and government and for the pandemic like COVID-19, the human to human transmitting virus which has been spreading at a lightning speed, the fight, and the battle would be tough as this pandemic has posed huge threat and vulnerability to the densely populated areas, geriatric people, and people with co-morbidities. However, these two slums in Chennai have shown that the pandemic can be defeated.

According to the reports, the slum tenements in Gudappakkam and Perumbakkam in the outskirts of Chennai had no positive cases in the past few days. Perumbakkam lies near Shollinganallur in the Chengalpet district while Gudappakam falls under the Thiruvallur district. The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board said about 1.5 lakh people live in the slum tenements at Perumbakkam while Gudappakam has 5,000 people in its tenements.

The reports say Perumbakkam has reported a first COVID-19 case in April and the virus was spreading in few blocks of the slum. The slum tenement had reported a total of 43 cases till the end of May of which 38 people have been discharged and returned home while the rest five people are currently undergoing treatment and they will also be discharged soon and would return home after battling the virus. Gudappakam also has a similar state of the virus spread in its tenement. 

The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board attributed the state of COVID-19 free in these two slums to the co-operation of the residents. According to the reports, the authorities from the slum clearance board and the community development officers have been strongly creating awareness among the residents about the pandemic and the precautionary measures to tackle the spread in the tenements. Each block in the slum has been installed with an association and the authorities had pasted the contact numbers of the health department staff and informed the residents about the developments.

Along with that, the stairs of each block and premises have been disinfected at regular intervals to avoid the spread and the residents are advised to stick to the guidelines and social distancing norms among each other. They have been asked to strictly adhere to the safety measures and observe social distancing while in their homes, elevators, and outside the premises. The residents extended their co-operation to the authorities and exited their residences only for essential purposes. 

The residents were provided with the numbers of the authorities and requested them to reach out to the authorities if anyone in their block developed positive symptoms for the virus to treat people and detect the spread at an early stage. With the co-operation of authorities and residents, these two tenements become free of COVID-19 and shown that they would battle and recover even if they report new cases. On Sunday, Chennai has reported 1,992 cases -the biggest single-day spike through which the city's tally stands at 53,762 so far.