Creating chaos in the times of Corona

The speech that made people forget about social distancing

Politics

March 24, 2020

/ By / Mumbai

Soon after the announcement the streets of Mumbai were filled with vehicles (MIG photos/Varsha Singh)

Soon after the announcement the streets of Mumbai were filled with vehicles (MIG photos/Varsha Singh)

As soon as the Prime Minister announced the 21-day countrywide lockdown people forgot everything about social distancing and rushed to their nearest shops in a mass panic buying.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a 21-day ‘total lockdown’ led to immediate panic buying in various parts of Greater Mumbai, with people queuing up to buy practically everything from groceries and vegetables to medicines and snacks.

Long queues were seen outside an outlet of a leading food retailer in Thane even though the outlet was shut for the day. The lucky few who had managed to get to the shop before the shutters came down had profited by taking cart loads of food supplies with them.

“I have just heard about his announcement of the 21-day lockdown and thought of filling up my stocks. Even though I don’t know how badly this lockdown is going to affect us, we just want to be prepared beforehand by buying enough supplies that would keep us relaxed for at least a month,” a resident tells Media India Group.

A resident of Thane district has her cart filled with loads of supplies

A resident of Thane district has her cart filled with loads of supplies

Long queues could be seen even outside medical stores with people patiently waiting for their turns. Ivan, a retired merchant navy official, told Media India Group that even prescribed medicines are out of stock leading to unnecessary chaos amongst people.

People had also lined up outside medical stores

People had also lined up outside medical stores

Even though it was a jackpot period for the vegetable vendors they were unable to manage. One of the vegetable vendors whose cart was filled with vegetables refused to sell veggies to the customers as he was unable to handle them. The vendor also said that he was not sure how long he would be able to get supplies even as buyers thronged his small cart to walk away with kilos of each and every green that they could lay their hands on.

Vegetable vendors trying to manage the crowd

Vegetable vendors trying to manage the crowd

One of the customers who also is an intern with Amazon and was there buying vegetables said that he was buying only for two weeks as he had been informed that Amazon would start home deliveries of food supplies thereafter. He and others are on paid leave.

People buying as many vegetables as they could before the 21-day lockdown

People buying as many vegetables as they could before the 21-day lockdown

However, Modi’s speech not only led to a panic like situation but it also made people cast aside what they had been trying to practice since the past few days, social distancing. The principles of social distancing were completely cast aside in each of the situations as people simply crowded along and jostled for their place in the queue or to pick the vegetables of their preference.

But not everyone was confident that the lockdown would last only 21 days. “ With Modi you never really know. We may be in for a longer haul and who knows what kind of supplies would be there in a few days from now, leave alone 21 days hence,” remarked one of the disappointed buyers who had to return empty handed from the grocery store.

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