PM Modi’s lockdown announcement prompts mass 'panic buying' across India
PM Modi’s lockdown announcement prompts mass 'panic buying' across India

PM Modi’s lockdown announcement prompts mass 'panic buying' across India

Soon after reports emerged of people rushing to buy groceries, the Prime Minister tweeted that there was no need to panic.

No sooner had Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day national lockdown in a televised address on Tuesday evening, than people rushed to supermarkets to buy essential commodities. Department stores were overwhelmed by crowds as citizens attempted to purchase groceries and vegetables before the midnight deadline. While PM Modi stated in his speech that essential items would be available, the home quarantine announcement to help contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic came with a little over three-hour warning, triggering massive panic across the country.

Visuals of panic-buying showed citizens in near-stampede situations, edging past one another to grab a hold of essential items. The crowded scenes, however, showed a total disregard for medical advice to be followed during the pandemic. While expert advice recommends social distancing, people were seen running towards supermarkets and gathering in large groups.

The situation prompted the Prime Minister to tweet, stating that essential commodities, medicines etc. would be available during the lockdown. 

“THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED TO PANIC.” reassured the Prime Minister.

Many criticised the Prime Minister’s speech on Tuesday, saying that he did not adequately clarify the availability of essential services during the 21-day lockdown. 

Following the speech, guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs stated the list of essential services that would be available during the lockdown period.

This includes shops selling groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish and animal fodder. "However, district authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimize the movement of individuals outside their homes." read the guideline. Banks, insurance offices, ATMs, media houses, telecommunication services, food, medicine and medical equipment delivery, fuel, power, would continue to operate.

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