Lucknow: The COVID-19 scare has finally started having an impact on the markets as the coronavirus outbreak has reportedly entered its third stage. Panic buying is going on in full swing in the state capital.
At the Dubbagga wholesale vegetable market in Lucknow, hundreds of customers bought potatoes and onions in bulk on Friday night, around the time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation.
Rumours went around that the Prime Minister was about to declare a health emergency in the country.
Guddu, a vegetable seller at Dubbagga, said, “People who came on scooters and motorbikes, took back up to 10 kg of potatoes and onions. The market that usually closes by 9.30.p.m, remained open till around midnight on Thursday.”
He said that while the supply of fresh vegetables in the wholesale market was steady, the supply of onions was gradually reducing.
“The onion comes from Maharashtra and the number of trucks that come in every day is going down. The sellers have told us that the supply could go down further in the next week. The prices of onions have risen to Rs 45 per kg while the potato is selling at Rs 25 to 30 per kg,” he said.
Supermarkets and hyper stores, both private and government, have already cut down on stocking vegetables.
“Fruits and vegetables are perishable goods and since customers are not coming out of their home, we are not maintaining the usual stock level. As for other groceries and staples, we have an adequate stock,” said Dhruv Kapoor, manager of a superstore.
Sheila Swarup, a senior citizen and a housewife in Mahanagar area, said, “The vegetable sellers have stopped coming and we have problems in going out to buy vegetables. The government should make an effort to check the panic.”
The government spokesman, meanwhile, said that there was no shortage of any kind and asked people not to indulge in panic buying.
“We are closely monitoring the situation. There is no need to panic. There is proper availability of all eatables and essential goods,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, a senior doctor at King George’s Medical University, who did not wish to be identified, said, “The sudden spurt in corona positive cases in Lucknow clearly indicates that the virus is entering the third stage.
In this stage, there is community transmission and even those who have had no known contact with an affected person, and have not travelled to an affected country start contracting the coronavirus disease.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), community spread is when “people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.”
This stage makes it difficult to break the chain of transmission, thereby making the disease harder to contain.