Confusion over complete sealing of hotspots in U.P.

Published : April 11, 2020 13:53 IST

Buying essential items in a market in Ghaziabad on April 8 after the Uttar Pradesh government decided to completely seal hotspots in the State. Photo: Atul Yadav/PTI

Confusion and chaos prevailed in Uttar Pradesh as the government suddenly declared the sealing of 22 hotspots in the State on April 8. As was seen immediately after the national lockdown, when lakhs of migrant workers spilled on to the roads in order to get back home, on April 8 evening thousands took to the streets to stock up essential goods as news spread that 22 districts would be sealed completely. These included Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddha Nagar, two districts adjoining Delhi.

Thousands of people lined up in front of shops to buy groceries and thronged the markets to stock up on fruits and vegetables, completely defeating the concept of social distancing or lockdown. The chaos happened because the government notification made it look as if there would be total restriction of movement in and out of these districts. By late night, however, the government did try to clarify things a bit and named the hotspots that would be sealed, making it clear that the districts would not be sealed entirely.

But there was no end to the confusion about the supply of essential goods even then. The government notification made it clear that even milk booths, fruits, vegetables, grocery shops and medicine shops, which were earlier allowed to open, would not be opened and that people would not be allowed to even step out of their doors in these hotspots. There was so much confusion that on the first day, even those areas which had not reported a single case of COVID-19 infection were sealed. One such area was the Lotus Boulevard housing society in Sector 100, Noida, which is part of Gautam Buddha Nagar. Residents in this society found the gates locked, with the police having stuck tapes saying “Police line, do not cross”. It was only later in the day that it dawned on the authorities that they had sealed the wrong society: the society to be sealed was the one adjacent to it called Lotus Boulevard Espacia.

As for the supply of essentials like milk, fruits and vegetables, people had to queue up in front of their gates for hours to take their pick from delivery vans, but almost everywhere it was a case of too little. Helplines were not of much use as either the numbers went unanswered or it took people a long time to even get somebody on the line. Successful delivery of goods through helplines turned out to be too ambitious to ask for.

Even the authorities deployed at the entry points remained clueless about the dos and don’ts, resulting in ugly arguments in many places as even doctors or mediapersons were not allowed to leave or come in. Similar confusion was witnessed about allowing private vehicles carrying patients to hospitals.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor