From COVID-19 victims to warriors: How Chennai's slum areas are flattening the curve?

While Chennai city has got to put more efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19 affected cases in the albeit of reporting a decline in the number of positive cases, the slums and high-density areas in the city have shown a blueprint for rest of the areas on containing the spread of the pandemic.

The slums and highly populated areas have been one of the most vulnerable grounds for the rapid spread of the virus. However, the slums in Chennai have become a model after these areas had reported a less number of cases for the past few days amid having the people living in close proximity. According to the Greater Chennai Corporation, there are about 1,979 areas in the city that are roofed under the high-density areas. 

These areas have now reported 7 to 10% of the virus cases in the city's daily tally while it stood at 30% in April. Of these 1,979 areas, 1,500 areas have not reported a single case in the last 45 days as the huge decline in the slum areas has sent a positive sign in flattening the COVID-19 curve. According to the reports, the civic body has conducted a community intervention programme in these locations in May to mitigate the spread.

The community-based organizations had rolled out the community-based programme on May 19 during which the residents were educated on preventing the spread of the virus including wearing masks, maintaining social distancing guidelines, and washing hands. The authorities ensured that the residents stick to the guidelines and after the month, these areas have shown good results. 

As part of the community-based programme, the volunteer had been deployed for every street in these areas and those volunteers were assigned to visit about 200 households each every day and the volunteers held the awareness campaigns and they talked with the members of the households and explained them about the measures and precautions to tackle the viral infection. 

The fever camps that have been conducted by the corporation have visited the homes in the slum areas in Tondiarpet, Chennai. The doctors and the medical team went to the households to examine the health conditions of the residents. As some of the zones in Chennai have been reporting more cases for the virus, the civic body has been planning to conduct the community-based programme in such zones to curb the spread.

For instance, the Royapuram area, which is one of the most affected zones in the city, has reported 7,680 cases of which 566 cases belong to the slum areas whereas 796 cases from such areas have accounted for the total of 7,067 cases in Tondiarpet. On Tuesday, Chennai has reported 1,203 cases- lowest in the week as the cases drop in the city amid the lockdown. The city's total tally currently stands at 71,230 cases so far.