The surge in cases has prompted several villages to go into self-imposed lockdowns and preventing the entry of vendors from other villages.

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Coronavirus Coronavirus Saturday, August 01, 2020 - 18:44

Kumar* (name changed), a resident of Seethapuram colony in Miryalaguda, Telangana, is frustrated that he has not been able to procure daily essentials like milk around Miryalaguda town for the past few days, owing to the COVID-19 lockdown and the paranoia around the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“It has become extremely difficult to buy milk in the neighbourhood, and there is no certainty that we will get milk if we go to other places,” Kumar lamented. Expressing concern, he added, “Fortunately, we don’t have any kids in the house, imagine having kids and struggling for milk?”

Miryalaguda town in Nalgonda district — a tier II city in Telangana — went under a self-imposed lockdown for nine days until July 31. Though the lockdown should have ended by now, it is still being observed, with kirana shops and jewelry stores closing by 2 pm, said Miryalaguda Municipal Chairman Thirunagar Bhargav. 

Bhargav said, “The cases are rising at a rapid rate. There are many unknown persons who are availing treatment in Hyderabad. Hence, we had to take up this measure.”

Following this trend, the neighbouring town of Nalgonda, too, is observing a 15-day voluntary lockdown till August 14, claiming that they have many COVID-19 cases as well. As the government is not enforcing the lockdown, stating that it is not “economically feasible,” the Nalgonda traders association, local authorities and political leaders have held deliberations and imposed the lockdown. The Nalgonda District Medical Health Officer (DMHO), Kondal Rao, said that since it was a decision made by the residents, they did not have a say in it. 

While Miryalaguda town alone has more than 300 active cases, the district has over 600 active cases. The surge in the cases has caused great fear and this has spread to the villages as well, forcing the village heads to adopt stringent  measures like preventing the entry of vendors from other villages.

In Dubbak Mandal of Siddipet district, several villages have gone under self-imposed lockdowns and asked kirana stores to close by 12 noon or 1 pm.  

We have stopped the mineral water suppliers from the neighbouring village of Cheekode, too,” said Bathula Yellam, former Sarpanch of Achumaipally village. Cheekode has three active patients, and some neighbouring villages have been denying entry of villagers from Cheekode. 

 “We are profiling the other vegetable vendors too, if they are coming from Dubbak or another village which has coronavirus cases. We are asking them to leave the village,” said Yellam.

The Panchayat Sarpanch of Achumaipally, Srinivas, said, “We are discouraging people from visiting the Siddipet market, and encouraging them to procure vegetables directly from the farmers. Those who are returning from Hyderabad have to be under home quarantine for 15 days.”

Srinivas said that since the time a woman's death due to COVID-19 was recorded in Dubbak last month, all villages are extremely wary and want to restrict the neighbouring residents as much as possible.   

Babu, a resident of Arepalle and son of former Sarpanch Devamma, said, “It has become a norm to close down the shops by 12 noon across the villages in Dubbak Mandal. There’s a lot of paranoia too.” 

On July 23, the Director of Public Health, G Srinivasa Rao, had asked the people in the state to be extra vigilant, hinting at the possibility of community transmission.  While such fear is prevailing in villages, the authorities have done little to address the issue and educate them on how to avoid the infection by wearing masks and using sanitisers. 

Meanwhile, the Siddipet DMHO claimed that he's not aware of such stringent measures being adopted by the people. As per the medical bulletin, Siddipet recorded 112 cases in the past one week, including Friday’s count of 16 cases.



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