LUCKNOW – With COVID-19 hotspots in 15 districts being completely sealed in Uttar Pradesh, panic gripped people in the UP capital as they abandoned social distancing and rushed out to stock up on groceries and essential items.
As soon as the information was received to seal the 15 districts, people feared everything would be closed. With petrol pumps and ATMs shut for the next few days, people flocked to buy household goods.
Akhilesh, who lives in Lucknow, said that as soon as the news of a complete closure in Lucknow came in the afternoon, big crowds were seen in the shops. “In the General Store below us, people started buying bags of flour and dal. About 50 people were standing in the small shop. They were climbing on top of each other. No one seemed to follow social distancing. The police nearby were also unable to remove them.”
Same was the condition of ration market in Aminabad. A large number of people were seen at the wholesale shops together. Ramesh Chandra Aggarwal, a resident of the place, said that it was fine in the morning but suddenly a huge crowd built up, as people were talking among themselves that a curfew will be imposed tomorrow. He said there was a rush for vegetables everywhere at the shops.
The situation was similar in Gomti Nagar, Indira Nagar, Ashiana, Chowk, Thakurganj, Baddeshwar, Dubagga, Keshari Kheda, Saadganj, Akbari Gate, Rajajipuram, Talkatora, Para, Kanpur Road LDA Colony, Alambagh, Ashiana, Geetapalli, Bangla Bazaar, Rajni Khand, Sultanpur Road, Gomti Nagar Extension, Takrohi, Khurramnagar, Jankipuram, Vikas Nagar, Jankipuram Extension, Aliganj, Sitapur Road, Khadra, Priyadarshini Colony, and Nirala Nagar.
Many items including flour, salt and turmeric were sold out at many places which laos led to overpricing at some places.
However, till late in the evening the district administration denied it and said that these will continue to be available in the future and no one needs to worry, and the situation was managed to some extent.
District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash said in a statement that people should not pay attention to rumours, they should stay at home because the whole city is not being sealed. Milk, fruits, vegetables, medicines, ration and other essentials will also be transported by similar government agencies in hot spot areas. Apart from this, shops of essential commodities will remain open as before in other areas.
Trans-Gomti ADM Vishwa Bhushan Gupta said that the complete lockdown is a rumour. No shops will be closed in Lucknow. There is no need to panic and increase market congestion. Everything will run the same way as in a normal lockdown. Barricading will take place only in hotspot areas and there will be a ban on movement within a radius of two to three kilometers.
Amid speculation of extending the lockdown period in Uttar Pradesh, the state government has decided to completely seal the areas in the 15 districts of the state where the infection is highest, in view of the increasing risk of coronavirus infection.
UP Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Avnish Kumar Awasthi said only those areas in the 15 districts which have become hotspots will be sealed. The entire districts will not be sealed. He said that the districts where six or more patients were found have been considered as hotspots.
Banks will also remain closed in these areas and the media will also be restricted. He said that so far three hotspots have been identified in Shamli, three in Meerut, one in Bareilly, three in Bulandshahar, eight in Basti, four in Firozabad, four in Maharajganj, one in Sitapur, 11 in Lucknow, and 8 in Basti.