Major festivals and important days have been a sobre affair since the beginning of the year, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both fear of contracting the virus, and majorly, the country-wide lockdown imposed by the central government have kept millions of Indians from celebrating festivals as per usual, for safety concerns. In the current Sravana Masam, however, this situation seems to have taken shift, with people thronging local markets in Vizag this week. A worrying trend, however, is that most eager citizens looking to shop for pooja essentials and other items have no regard for social distancing norms, an essential step in keeping oneself safe from the virus.
Fruit and flower markets in Dondaparthy and Akkayyapalem which sported a deserted look in the last few weeks have begun to attract customers in huge numbers. Poorna Market and Jagadamba markets in Vizag too, have seen an influx of customers coming in to buy all essentials on the auspicious occasion of Sravana Masam.
Reports emerging from these markets suggest that several customers haven’t been adhering to safety protocols. Most enthusiastic customers were seen vying for fruits and flowers at the crowded markets, with no regard for maintaining physical distance with shopkeepers or other customers at the shops. In some instances, shopkeepers were seen without masks in some markets. The trend seems to be worrying, with COVID cases increasing in Vizag.
As of 29 July 2020, Vizag registered 841 new cases in just twenty-four hours. The district’s tally stood at 8559 cases with a total of 92 citizens succumbing to the virus. Similar reports have emerged from Rajahmundry as well, with customers thronging the streets in large numbers to buy supplies for the holy festival on Friday. East Godavari has reported a whopping 1676 cases within twenty-four hours. 148 people in the district lost their lives due to the virus as of 29 July.