11 Covid-19 cases linked to Azadpur market, test results of 100 awaited
Test results of more than 100 individuals—traders and employees—who have been traced as contacts of the confirmed cases or those who have been shortlisted after a screening programme this weekend are still awaited, office bearers of the agriculture produce market committee (APMC) said.Updated: Apr 30, 2020 04:59 IST
At least 11 cases of Covid-19 have so far been linked to the Azadpur agriculture market in Delhi and more than 25 traders and their employees have been quarantined after being traced as contacts of the 11 cases.
Test results of more than 100 individuals—traders and employees—who have been traced as contacts of the confirmed cases or those who have been shortlisted after a screening programme this weekend are still awaited, office bearers of the agriculture produce market committee (APMC) said.
A large number of registered shops in Delhi’s Azadpur market—the Capital’s lifeline for supply for fruits and vegetables—remained closed on Tuesday, with groups of traders raising concerns over the transmission of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Anil Malhotra, a trader and elected member of the committee that runs the Azadpur market said, “Traders are concerned. Most of them are demanding that all traders and employees in the market be tested. Others are demanding that the market be moved to some other location in parts and the current market premises be turned into a containment zone.”
The Azadpur market has around 2,800 registered shops and traders employ around 12,000 individuals in different roles—from porters to accountants. On a regular day, the market witnesses a footfall of more than 100,000 and the arrival of at least 3,000 trucks.
District magistrate (north) Deepak Shinde said that the market premises are under strict surveillance and the district administration ensures that social distancing and other protocols are followed.
Officials in Azadpur APMC maintain that the market continues to operate round the clock—a decision which was implemented last week in the light of supply disruption leading to a rise in the prices of fruits and vegetables in the city in the middle of the ongoing nationwide lockdown.
“I cannot comment on individual shops. But all the sheds in the market were functional. Supply is steady. The market is periodically sanitised with disinfectants. More than 600 sanitation workers and 900 civil defence volunteers have been deployed,” Adil Khan, the chairperson of the Azadpur APMC, said.
When asked about photographs and videos of deserted sheds in Azadpur market that have been doing the rounds on social media, Khan said, “To ensure social distancing, a system of 200 coupons per hour has been introduced for trucks, no vehicle is allowed to be parked inside the market for long hours, retail traders are also given access on a staggered basis and are asked to leave the market once the transaction is over. So, those photos and videos do not depict the accurate picture.”
The 11 confirmed cases so far—of which one led to a death last week—are spread across four neighbouring blocks, records shared by the APMC showed. It further showed that shops in the vicinity of five of them have been sealed. The others have not been sealed because the patients had stopped coming to the market much before they were tested positive and quarantined, a senior office-bearer of the APMC said.
SPREAD IN OTHER MARKETS
A trader in Naya Bazar in Anaj Mandi area of the central district on Tuesday tested positive for the coronavirus disease.
According to district administration officials, the patient sells foodgrain and had a shop in the area.
Nidhi Srivastava, DM (central), said that as a precautionary measure, a contact tracing exercise would soon start in Naya Bazar market.
“The person lives in Pitampura and his shop was not opened for the last 15 days. Today (Tuesday), he tested positive. We will get contact tracing done soon,” Srivastava said.
She added that the number of people to be quarantined would be known only after contact tracing is done.
Meanwhile, the traders of the Naya Bazar market have raised an alarm to ensure safety while working.
Sunil Kumar Garg, general secretary Delhi Grain Merchants Association, said that necessary directions on maintaining social distancing in shops have been issued to the shop owners and managers. He said that at one time not more than two people would be allowed in the shop.