Panic buying in Chennai. Photograph:( Others )
As the Chief Minister announced a complete lockdown for five cities of Tamil Nadu, markets were crowded on Saturday morning.
As coronavirus cases on a rise in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister K Palaniswami ordered a complete lockdown in five cities -- Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Salem and Madurai. The lockdown will be implemented strictly between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. from April 26-29 in Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai, and for the same timings from April 26 to April 28 in Tiruppur and Salem.
The decision of the complete lockdown was taken in a review meeting after the coronavirus cases toll crossed 1,600. After the announcement was made on Friday, people flocked to the markets from early morning on Saturday. Long queues were spotted outside various supermarkets and vegetable markets. People rushed to stock up on enough groceries and dairy items to sustain them for the next four days. People hoping to stay at home and order through food delivery apps were unable to do so due to the long queues and unavailability of essentials.
The online vegetable and food delivery apps will be allowed to home deliver groceries and food, provided all precautions are adhered to by the restaurants and the delivery boys. However, people, who have till now been used to going to the market anytime between 6am-1pm, panicked fearing uncertainty about the lockdown.
The idea of the lockdown was to contain the spread of the virus by completely shutting down the movement of public in the streets. However, as people rushed to the markets on Saturday morning, the crowded streets did not see a lot of precautions related to social distancing.
According to the data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 72 new coronavirus cases were reported as of April 25 morning in the state. This brings the total reported positive cases of coronavirus to 1,755 in Tamil Nadu, with 22 deaths and 886 recovered patients.
As Tamil Nadu is one of the worst-hit states in the country, the state has identified hotspots. As of now, 35 out of 38 districts have been identified as COVID-19 hotspots in Tamil Nadu.