Majid Kapra

Streets witness less than usual public movement amid COVID-19 scare

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People urge govt to check huge public rush at hospitals

Srinagar, Mar 17: An eerie calm prevailed in Srinagar a day after the district administration ordered closure of gardens, parks, shopping malls, clubs and spas in summer capital amid COVID-19 scare.

Even as the government is trying to prevent the deadly disease from spreading its tentacles in Valley, which according to official reports has not recorded any positive case of coronavirus thus far, people are also taking necessary precautions at home and outside to avoid falling victim to COVID-19.

World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared the disease as global pandemic.

In Srinagar, the market places didn’t witness the normal bustle Tuesday though roadside vendors selling footwear, readymade garments, used clothes, watches and electronic accessories were seen occupying sidewalks and footpaths at quite a few places including in Lal Chowk, Amirakadal, Hari Singh High Street, Maharaja Bazar, Hazuri Bagh, Batamaloo, Parimpora and elsewhere.

An unusual smell was emanating from roads at certain places as the municipal staff was spraying disinfectants on streets and passenger buses in Srinagar. The move is largely hailed by the people.

A good number of pedestrians were seen moving around, wearing face masks. People could be seen purchasing masks even from the street vendors at few places as there is visible shortage of masks and sanitizers here.

While the families of the people stuck in corona-hit countries are demanding that their dear ones be brought back, there are certain others who urge the government to halt the process of bringing people back from Saudi Arabia, China, Italy and Iran. They said the authorities had to impose prohibitory orders on the assembly of people in Budgam and Ganderbal districts of central Kashmir after some people of these districts were brought back to Valley from virus-infected countries, including China and Iran.

“We demand immediate halt of the process. Who knows how many of them are infected, government should seriously ponder over the issue and let the people who have are stuck abroad to remain there till the threat subsides,” said a pedestrian buying masks at Lal Chowk here.

Flow of patients and their attendants in government hospitals including Valley’s major referral hospital SMHS hospital was higher than usual. A heart patient sitting in the corner at Emergency ward of SMHS said the huge rush of people makes him feel restless.

“This is too much, I have not seen such a huge rush of people in this hospital ever before. I feel breathless and want to leave as quickly as possible,” said the elderly patient who identified himself as Mohammad Shafi Bhat from Nawab Bazaar.

He said the government instead of issuing “hollow advisories” should take immediate measures to reduce the flow of people at SMHS Hospital as the same may pose serious threats in the face of coronavirus pandemic.

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