The successful containment of COVID-19 outbreak in Union Territory of Ladakh, India, 2020.

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A three-member central Rapid Response Team (RRT) was deputed to Union Territory of Ladakh on 26th March 2020, to assess the situation and support the preparedness measures including implementation of cluster containment plan and social distancing measures for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).Central RRT addressed the panchayat sarpanch and religious leaders, sensitized doctors and paramedical staff on COVID-19 situation; conducted situational analysis, review of records and logistics, key informant interviews of senior administrative and healthcare officials, focus group discussions with local community people and field visits to various hospitals, isolation centers, quarantine facilities, and containment zones.A total of 14 COVID-19 cases with no deaths were reported and nine patients had recovered till 4 April 2020. The median (range) age of positive cases was found to be 32.5 (6 months-76 years) years and overall attack rate was 1.65 per 1000 population. Ladakh Government declared Chuchot Gongma, Yokma and Sankoo as the containment zones and deputed surveillance teams. A total of 2397 persons were quarantined and 496 samples were tested from Ladakh. COVID-19 sample testing, Srinagar-Leh highway opening and Iran pilgrimage returnees were the major challenges identified.The Ladakh government must continue the robust surveillance system and stringent strategies in key areas for management of COVID-19 namely – aggressive screening and testing, isolation, quarantine, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquettes and social distancing.

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