Coronavirus Outbreak: People resort to panic buying soon after PM's lockdown announcement; govt later clarifies availability of essential commodities
In the gap of around 30 minutes between Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi address to the nation announcing a 21-day-long nationwide lockdown and his announcement on Twitter urging people to not resort to panic buying, people descended on the streets as the speech did not make a mention of the availability of essential commodities
In the gap of around 30 minutes between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation announcing a 21-day-long nationwide lockdown and his announcement on Twitter urging people to not resort to panic buying, people descended on the streets as the speech did not make a mention of the availability of essential commodities.
The lockdown was announced to curb the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed 11 lives and infected 562 people.
Soon after his address to the nation, the Prime Minister tweeted, “My fellow citizens, there is absolutely no need to panic. Essential commodities, medicines etc. would be available. Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this. Together, we will fight COVID-19 and create a healthier India.”
My fellow citizens,
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED TO PANIC.
Essential commodities, medicines etc. would be available. Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this.
Together, we will fight COVID-19 and create a healthier India.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 24, 2020
Even after the tweet, long queues were seen outside departmental stores, supermarkets and chemists.
Modi's speech was criticised for not mentioning access to food and groceries or relief measures for poor Indians, whose means of income would be jeopardised by the lockdown.
Thane D-Mart tonight. People need to remain calm, mindful and informed. If they were, this wouldn't have happened. Any panic is not going to do us any good. So much for social distancing, yaar. pic.twitter.com/6U8duysR2U
— Swagata Dam (@SwagataDam) March 24, 2020
Some media houses and Journalists are saying that everything will be closed down. This is pushing PPL to venture out for panic buying for essential commodities. Please note everything will be available for next 21 days pic.twitter.com/Vu4uzIOHHO
— Rishi Bagree 🇮🇳 (@rishibagree) March 24, 2020
Why this panic buying ? No new restriction imposed...what was yesterday is same today...so will be tomorrow.
Only change is that instead of State, centre will handle it till April 13.
Earlier centre was giving advises to states, now it will be directions. States to comply. pic.twitter.com/A0KhOXGENG
— Arvind Gunasekar (@arvindgunasekar) March 24, 2020
Ironically, the sight of people queuing up, standing close together outside stores was in contradiction with the social distancing measures imposed by the government, given how contagious the novel coronavirus is.
Panic buying across countries ... Cops are trying to explain to the people that essential commodities shops / ration store will remain open ... pic.twitter.com/ZIyzBYnbFY
— Supriya Bhardwaj (@Supriya23bh) March 24, 2020
People lining up to buy groceries, as India is going to be on complete lockdown for 21 days.
Please avoid panic buying as medical, groceries etc. will remain open throughout the lockdown.
— Mohit Singh (@Mohitlogic) March 24, 2020
— Rohit Sharma (@spite1794) March 24, 2020
Meanwhile, cops were seen in Mumbai patrolling the streets and announcing that shops stocked with essential commodities will be open during the lockdown.
Cops here in Mumbai had to announce in the middle of the streets that grocers and medical stores will stay open after crowds rushed to panic buy. What a spectacular fail in communication. pic.twitter.com/ci6oWjUTaR
— Kiran T-ierney (@mopeygooner) March 24, 2020
In the 8 pm speech, Modi announced that the lockdown would begin from Wednesday at 12 AM. "If you don't observe national lockdown in the coming 21 days, our country will go back 21 years in past," he said.
According to a statement issued by the home ministry, shops that sell food, groceries, milk, meat and other provisions can remain open during the lockdown, along with medical shops. Banks and ATMs will also be functional during the lockdown.
The statement also says that essential goods may be delivered through e-commerce websites and that banks, ATMs and insurance offices will remain open.
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