Covid-19 in Delhi: What shopkeepers at Bhagirath Palace market say about lockdown

With the number of cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) witnessing a rapid surge in Delhi, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Tuesday suggested to the Centre that some markets in the national capital, which might emerge as hotspots in the coming days, be shut down.

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Officially, the spike in cases, which has been called the “third wave” of the pandemic in the city, was attributed to the festive season as people came out in large numbers to shop.

Also Read | ‘3rd wave of Covid-19 has passed its peak in Delhi,’ says health minister Satyendar Jain

Bhagirath Palace market

Located in Old Delhi, Bhagirath Palace is one of the markets in the national capital which witnessed massive footfall during the festive season, with neither the shopkeepers nor the buyers taking precautionary measures against the virus. Bhagirath Palace is the largest market for medicines and medical goods in north India. If closed for even a few days, the supply of medicines across the region will be affected, according to experts.

During the nationwide lockdown, the market was closed twice but not for more than four-five days due to which the supply of medicines was not affected. Also, with thousands of people coming to Bhagirath Palace to purchase medicines, the Delhi Police had banned the entry of vehicles. However, shopkeepers have now opened their shops, with hand sanitisers, masks etc. being sold on both sides of the road.

According to shopkeepers in Bhagirath Palace, implementing Covid-19 norms here is “extremely difficult.” This, they say, is because the crowd here is huge and shopkeepers have occupied empty spaces outside their shops because of which the possibility of social distancing in the market is “nil.”

Covid-19 in Delhi

The number of daily Covid-19 cases in Delhi has risen exponentially over the last few days. On November 11, the city logged its highest single-day virus count of 8,539. Just a day later, it recorded its highest death toll due to the virus in a single day at 104. With the situation going out of hand, Union home minister Amit Shah chaired a high-level meeting on November 15 and announced a 12-point plan to bring the pandemic under control.

Also Read | Daily Covid-19 tests to be increased to over 1 lakh in Delhi, says Arvind Kejriwal

On Tuesday, there were 6,396 new Covid-19 cases and 99 related deaths in Delhi, bringing the total number of cases to 495,598 including 7,812 deaths, according to a government bulletin. The government has already ruled out a lockdown in the city.

(With agency inputs)

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