By Sheikh Qayoom
Srinagar, March 19 (IANS) Panic gripped Srinagar city on Thursday with residents indulging in heavy panic buying of essentials of life after a woman tested positive for COVID-19 infection.
People thronged markets for edible oils, pulses, tea, spices, medicines, handwashes and sanitizers.
Shopkeepers were battling with the rush of buyers as their shelves started getting emptied very quickly.
“I think I will have to bring down the shutter by this evening. I have already sold most stocks of edible oils, pulses, tea, handwashes and spices”, said Muhammad Ramzan, a shopkeeper in Lal Bazaar area of Srinagar city.
Authorities have erected barricades disallowing vehicular movement into Srinagar city. Even outskirt districts like Ganderbal and Budgam have started disallowing the entry of those who do not belong to these districts.
Srinagar municipal corporation mayor, Junaid Azim Mattu twitted that he has requested the lieutenant governor to stop the run of the train between south and north of the Valley.
Long queues of motorists lined outside various petrol Afilling stations in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley indicate that petroleum products would also run into short supply unless their sale and distribution is regulated by the authorities.
Teams of paramedics and municipal staff started sanitising 300 metre area around the house where the infected woman lived for two days before the results of her test were received by the doctors.
A resident of old city Srinagar, the woman had arrived here on March 15 after performing the ‘Umrah’ pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
Authorities are now trying to find out the contact trajectory of the woman who is feared to have met family members, relatives and neighbours before she was identified and shifted to the super specialty hospital in Srinagar.
With the discovery of the first Coronavirus patient in the Valley, authorities have been advising people to stay indoors and avoid social and religious interaction of all kind.
Wild rumours were doing the rounds in Srinagar city with mongers spreading false reports of more persons testing positive for the dreaded virus.
Authorities have advised people not to believe these unfounded rumours and also warned strict action against anti-social elements indulging in rumour mongering in Srinagar city.