Thiruvananthapuram

Fear of shortage dominates second day of lockdown

The police checking the implementation of the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 using drone cameras in Thrissur on Wednesday. The drone can be used to monitor people’s movement in a seven-km area.

The police checking the implementation of the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 using drone cameras in Thrissur on Wednesday. The drone can be used to monitor people’s movement in a seven-km area.   | Photo Credit: K.K. Najeeb

Govt. scrambles to keep supply lines operational

The fear that essential supplies might run short dominated the second day of the COVID-19 outbreak-related lockdown in the State on Wednesday.

Marketplaces appeared empty of fish and vegetable vendors, and the few hawkers on the street sold their wares at inflated prices. People complained that traders increased rates of onion, tomato, and egg. Chicken and meat stalls were scarce across the State.

With inter-State supply chains disrupted, the government scrambled to ensure the availability of pulses, edible oil, and other essential provisions.

District administrations have sought the help of inter-State truckers and wholesale importers of essential commodities to keep markets and stores well supplied.

The government struggled to convince Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to allow freight movement across borders.

There were complaints galore that aggressive police patrols forced bakeries shut, prevented vegetable stalls from opening for business, and turned back fish lorries and street vendors.

Emotions ran high across the State when the police confronted people who ventured out on to the streets.

Street quarrels

It resulted in street quarrels and arguments, prompting the police to break up brawls.

At Perumbavoor in Ernakulam, the police grappled with two youths who attempted to attack officers. In several localities, the State restricted large gatherings at funerals and weddings. At Adoor, the police booked a priest for leading a giant funeral service.

So far, the police have booked 402 people on the charge of violating the social distancing norms imposed by the State to prevent the spread of the disease.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to the public again to cooperate with the authorities, shed old habits, and adjust to the new norms. The restrictions appeared harsher in Kasaragod. The district, which faced a steady rise in COVID-19 caseload, is still considered a high-risk locality. A total clampdown is on in the district since Saturday.

The police have sent reinforcements to the district to back the district administration.

There is a total ban on traffic and pedestrians, unlike other localities in the State where the lockdown appeared relatively less severe.

The government tightened up the blockade on Wednesday by closing the State’s borders to Keralites returning from other regions.

Chief Secretary Tom Jose said Keralites need to hunker down in their current locations till the COVID-19 threat receded. The State could not extend any concession that could jeopardise public health. Even persons on foot are not allowed into Kerala.

Inter-district travel

Law enforcers also frowned on inter-district travel. They allowed only two persons in private vehicles.

They insisted that autorickshaw and taxi drivers have a valid reason for ferrying passengers.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 9:17:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/fear-of-shortage-dominates-second-day-of-lockdown/article31167189.ece

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