By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: In what indicates the speed at which COVID-19 is spreading in AP, the average doubling rate of the cases as of Saturday is 3.4 days with highest being 4 days in Prakasam and Nellore districts. With only 97 of the total 676 Mandals being in the red zone, the health department has decided that the entire mandal/ adjoining mandal, through which the buffer extends, will be treated as red mandal/red zone for the purpose of containment.

With the motto ‘protect the green and restrict the red’, the health department clarified that no inter-district or inter-Mandal movement of people in red Mandals and cities will be allowed except for medical or emergencies like the death of close family members. While restrictions will be in place in all the red Mandals till May 3, mingling of people among ‘Green Mandals’ will be allowed only after adequate testing in green areas which will be subsequently notified, according to the order issued on Saturday.

According to Special Chief Secretary (health) KS Jawahar Reddy, there are multi foci of infection in the State and the doubling rate of cases is 4 days and below. With 603 positive cases, the doubling rate of cases is 3.4 days, he said. The doubling rate in Kurnool (2.5), Guntur(3.3), Chittoor(3.7), Anantapur (3.9) is less than 4 days and  Prakasam and Nellore have a doubling rate of 4 days. “This shows the speed at which the infection is spreading,  which needs to be contained,” he said in the order.

He noted that 97 mandals are red zones, while the remaining are categorised as green, which may become red as and when new cases are detected. There are 158 containment clusters within the affected mandals and cities as of Saturday. It may be recalled that the Centre had categorised 11 of the 13 districts in the State as ‘hotspot districts’. Srikakulam and Vizianagaram are the two districts which managed to register no cases so far. The Centre had also permitted the States to consider mandals and villages as an administrative unit, instead of district, only for the purpose of containment of the pandemic outbreak.

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