Wednesday Walk - COVID-19, Empty Roads And Closed Markets
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Prime Minister of India announced total lockdown for 21 days. While it may damage the already deteriorating Indian economy, the step was necessary for long term. The lockdown was announced yesterday but we have been practicing self quarantine from the past four days. Quarantine is not a big deal for me as I am from Kashmir and I am used to these kinds of restrictions.
I live with two flatmates in New Delhi and one of the flatmates complained that he is having chest pain and cough and he is sure that he has been infected by the virus. While we had no plan to go out because of the virus but because my flatmate complained about the disease, we were forced to visit a hospital. I somehow knew that he is not infected but still we didn't want to take a chance.
As we left our home and reached a nearby road, this is what we saw. The name of this place is Kalinga Chowk, Patel Nagar, named after one of India's great freedom fighters, Sardar Valabhai Patel. Usually, this place has so much traffic and it takes some time to cross from one end of the road to other. The policeman were stationed there to stop the unnecessary traffic of vehicles and people. The barricades were also in place to limit the vehicular traffic.
The lockdown didn't only affect the movement of the people but almost all the stores were closed. We didn't see a single shop open except for medical stores. This market has plenty of stores but at this point of time, none of them is operational. We did see some dairy stores open but not as many as there used to be earlier.
We walked further to the center of the Kalinga Chowk where four roads meet each other. We could see all the four roads but there were no people, no cars and no shops open. While we were crossing the road, one of the policeman cane to us and stopped us. He said you can't roam like this but when we told that we are going to a hospital, he allowed us a free passage.
As we went on with our little journey, we came across different roads which led us to the Sardar Patel Hospital, again named after the famous freedom fighter, Sardar Patel. The above pictures show the solitude of the roads. We kept walking and all we saw were empty roads and closed stores, no people walking and no vehicles.
To be honest, I was a bit nervous before reaching the hospital and as a result, I couldn't click more pictures as I prayed to God to save my flatmate from this deadly pandemic. The front gate of the hospital was closed but the back gate was open. We went straight into the emergency section but they directed us to a camp which was set up in front of hospital to test the coronavirus patients. I waited for 20 minutes outside the camp and eventually my flatmate came out of the camp with the news that he was fine and that he hasn't been infected. I have never been more relieved in my life.
I don't doubt the fact that this pandemic is the deadliest, I have ever heard of but that doesn't mean we should panic. There are many people in the world who are facing depression because of the pandemic. All of us should follow some basic rules and stay at home as much as we can.
Stay home and be safe...