Delhi

Azadpur Mandi a virus hotspot, city govt. should close it: traders

Authorities say 11 cases linked to market, but sellers claim figure is over 20

With 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and another suspected case emerging from it on Tuesday, the traders’ union at Azadpur Mandi has demanded that the wholesale fruits and vegetable market be shutdown.

They said that the mandi has become a virus hotspot and should be declared a containment zone. Almost a dozen cases have come to light from the area between April 20 and April 26.

While a senior government official put the number of COVID-9 cases connected to the mandi at “around a dozen”, Anil Malhotra, member of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (Azadpur), said there were “at least 20” cases that needed to be probed.

These cases have surfaced over the last week and one person has died.

“There are easily over 20 cases which are also just the tip of the iceberg. Labourers at the mandi have not been tested and no camp has been set up for it despite cases increasing daily,” he said, adding: “The whole area needs to be shut down and converted into a containment zone. The produce can be sold at other open spaces such as Japanese Park in Rohini, Nirankari grounds, and Chhatrasal Stadium. What is the government waiting for?”

‘No social distancing’

Social distancing norms are also not being enforced, especially at night, he further said. Official records show 11 confirmed cases were reported from shops located in A, B, C and D blocks. A total of 34 individuals are in quarantine; half of them are on the premises of the mandi.

The government, meanwhile, said it is undertaking screening. “As many as 300 individuals have been screened so far. It is a continuous drive and more will be examined in the days to come,” said a senior Delhi government official.

Adil Khan, chairman of the committee, said: “We are following social distancing norms. I am present on the premises of the mandi at night and oversee everything... As far as the number of cases are concerned, the official figure is so far at 11.”

On April 20, the Delhi government had announced that the mandi would remain open round-the-clock to ensure uninterrupted supply of essentials.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 9:03:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/azadpur-mandi-a-virus-hotspot-city-govt-should-close-it-traders/article31458429.ece

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