Govt prescribes social distancing, masses turn a deaf ear in Ludhiana

People could be seen congregating in public places and government offices, in an infraction of suggested measures to arrest the infection from spreading
Residents standing in a queue at an auto-driving test centre in Ludhiana.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Residents standing in a queue at an auto-driving test centre in Ludhiana.(Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Updated on Mar 19, 2020 09:17 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Ludhiana | By Mohit Khanna, Ludhiana

Though the government has imposed strict regulations to curb mass gatherings and has attempted to impress the importance of social distancing upon the masses in wake of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, people at large are not following the government advisory.

In multiple instances, people could be seen congregating in public places and government offices, in an infraction of suggested measures to arrest the infection from spreading. People could be seen pushing and shoving each while queuing up at two driving test centres in Tagore Nagar near Nehru Rose Garden in Sector 39. The Mini Secretariat, too, witnessed a considerable rush.

Test centre employees said the area remained chock-a-block through the day: “We are wearing mask and using sanitisers but it is not enough. People should observe social distancing as a precautionary measure,” said an employee, who did not wish to be named.

The applicants said people standing in queues suggested that the centres should call applicants in batches to avoid crowding. The government has imposed restrictions on an assembly of 50 or more persons and cancelled cultural events and other functions. However, markets recorded a high foot count, especially at grocery supply stores.

Residents of the heavily populated Jawahar Nagar camp said people were hoarding grocery and other essential commodities. And people, some of whom were coughing and sneezing, could be seen jostling against each other to get to the goods.

They alleged that ration and karyana store owners, hoping to make a quick buck, stay open till the wee hours. Meanwhile, physicians are urging people to take government guidelines seriously and maintain distance from each other to curb the spread of virus.

An ayurveda physician Ravinder Vatsyayan said, “We are at war against an unseen enemy. The behavioural traits that we have imbibed such as maintaining social distance can save us.

Rishi Punni, a city resident, said shaking hands and hugging have become a new parameter for bonhomie, “And if you avoid shaking one’s hand you are considered rude,” said Punni.

“I had visited the suvidha kendra in the mini-secretariat and people could be seen standing in queue brushing into each other. The government’s order to avoid mass gathering are being flouted with impunity and still no measures are being taken to reduce the rush or educate people about maintaining social distancing,” he said.

“People are under a strong misconception that the virus will not harm them,” said Rashi, a businessman who gave his staff leave till march 31.

People are using the lockdown to host parties

Dr Gaurav Sachdeva said, “Raising awareness among women is important. They need to be educated about the deadly virus and its spread. Most women are seeing this lockdown as an opportunity to socialise and host parties at home. Many women are sending their children for activity camps, which is not advisable. People should stay at home and wash their hands frequently,” said Dr Sachdeva.

On the other hand, Gurmeet Singh, a banker, said his office had started implementing social distancing measures in all earnestness: “Though it was difficult initially but employees have started maintaining distance. The ‘namaste culture’ is catching up,”he said.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021