Guntur: The district administration was virtually clueless as to how to move ahead and tackle the situation when the city reported its first positive case of coronavirus on March 24. In next few days, the cases spread like wildfire, prompting the senior officials to run from pillar to post. Undeterred by the city reporting a high number of positive cases, Guntur Municipal Corporation (GMC) commissioner Ch Anuradha quietly moved into the field and enforced cluster containment plans.
Despite knowing that the local legislator of ruling YSRC lived in the same area, Anuradha did not compromise.
She made all the residents remain indoors from the very next morning. Ignoring calls and threats from local leaders, the commissioner barricaded the entire cluster and declared it a red zone.
In fact, handling such issues in minority population dominant Old City is not only sensitive but also risky. However, Anuradha’s experience in working as GMC chief in the past had helped her winning the locals. She met the local elders and explained the prevailing situation to them. She convinced them that it was in the interest of their own families, colonies and the city. “People have fully cooperated with us when we went there to explain the need to barricade the area. We have not faced even slightest opposition,” Anurdha told TOI.
Control rooms were set up in the vicinity of each of the red zone and provided full support to the residents. Locals were directed to approach the control room over the phone and put out any of their requirement. With her thorough knowledge about the presence of very narrow lanes in the old city, commissioner constituted special teams to take up door-to-door sanitation.
The commissioner had been personally inspecting all the control rooms every day and enquiring whether the staff posted in the control rooms attending to the services of the residents. The GMC made arrangements for supply of milk, vegetables, groceries, medicines and other requirements of the residents through door delivery. “Initially, it was a big task to stay indoors. Life become a little comfortable only with GMC providing everything at our doorsteps,” said Shaik Karimulla, a painter from Kummaribazar, which reported the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the city.
Guntur, which reported almost 10-15 cases per day for the first 20 days, has reported just four cases in the last three days.

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