A large group protested at the Alappuzha Vazhicherry market in Kerala on Tuesday morning, demanding that interstate lorries be blocked or regulated from entering the market.
The protesters gathered after reports that a vegetable trader in Kayamkulam market had tested positive for the coronavirus and around 20 others were infected as a result. Though the source of infection for the trader was unknown, they assumed that he might have got it from one of the lorry drivers, who travelled from outside the state.
Citing this incident, the protesters at the Alappuzha market alleged that lorry drivers were not being tested and surveillance was not being done, to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
Vendors who lived near the market organised and protested from around 7 am to 8.30 am, when police assured them that proper surveillance would be done, and dispersed them.
There are 646 patients currently under treatment in Alappuzha district. Another 651 are in hospital quarantine with symptoms.
The protesters were worried as several cases have been reported in the recent past from markets. In Thiruvananthapuram's Poonthura area where community spread was reported, the first patient was a trader who frequently visited Kanyakumari.
In Kasaragod district too, cases were reported from markets and vegetable shops where the authorities assume that the infection may have spread from people who came from outside the state in different vehicles.
On Saturday, in a press meet, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that in Alappuzha district, the number of coronavirus cases through contact were increasing considerably.
Most of the cases in the district are from Ezhupunna, Pallithod, Kayamkulam, Kurathikad and Nooranad. A 1,000 bed COVID-19 treatment facility is getting ready to serve the needs of people from the coastal regions of the district.