People resort to panic buying in Kolkata markets

Roads empty but people resort to panic buying at Kolkata markets amid coronavirus lockdown

A view of deserted roads during lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Kolkata. (PTI Photo)

Roads in large parts of West Bengal were deserted on Wednesday, the first day of the nationwide lockdown imposed to check the spread of coronavirus, but people resorted to panic buying at several markets of Kolkata in violation of the advice of social distancing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Tuesday evening announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

In the morning, private vehicles were off the roads while all business establishments, barring those dealing with essential commodities, were shut.

Major railway stations, bus terminals and airports were deserted. Only a few police vehicles and those associated with emergency services were seen on the roads.

Vendors did not deliver newspapers in most parts of the state for the second consecutive day.

Despite a complete ban on large gatherings, people in some parts of the city were seen jostling in markets to buy essential commodities.

People were also seen queuing outside gas agencies too but additional LPG cylinders in the wake of the lockdown.

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Police personnel was seen asking people through a public address system to remain indoors and urging them not to panic as the government will ensure a regular supply of grocery, LPG cylinders, and food grains.

Of the nine afflicted with the disease in the state, one has died.

Most gated colonies and apartments in the state capital were locked while civic workers were seen sanitising parks and bus stands.

More than 1,000 people were arrested in Kolkata since Monday evening for violating the lockdown, officials said.

The West Bengal government has started discharging patients from a state-run hospital and stopped admitting new ones to the institute to convert the entire facility into an isolation and treatment centre for people suspected to be infected with the coronavirus.

An organisation of imams in West Bengal has asked authorities of mosques to restrict the entry of people to prevent large gatherings but continue conducting prayers with a few devotees. 

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