Mangaluru, March 31, 2020: There will be another three-day complete lockdown in Dakshina Kannada stopping all commercial activities except sales of milk and medicine from April 1 to April 3. This will come after Tuesday’s relaxation to allow people to buy essentials.
A decision would be taken on Tuesday afternoon, district in-charge Minister Kota Srinivas Poojari said and added that it was almost certain that the lockdown would be extended for another three days.
Residents in the district were left wondering how the situation in Dakshina Kannada was different either from neighbouring Udupi or far-away Bengaluru where there was no lockdown on sale of essential commodities.
Mr. Poojari told The Hindu that arrangements were made to lift essentials from wholesale dealers to retailers in every part of the district by Monday evening through village accountants and PDOs concerned. A committee of officials and public would ensure the sale of essential commodities to the public while ensuring social distancing on Tuesday.
Regarding continuation of the lockdown, the Minister said that several instances of wandering, roaming around, etc., across the district defeated the very purpose of the lockdown. A large number of COVID-19 positive cases getting reported from neighbouring Kasargod district in Kerala was another concern. There was no personal interest but public interest behind the decision, he said.
Mangaluru City South MLA D. Vedavyas Kamath said that the district has around 3,000 people under quarantine who would come out in the next couple of days. Complete lockdown was essential to prevent any possible spread of COVID-19, he added.
While retailers would lift essential commodities from wholesale dealers on Monday and Tuesday, the administration is arranging for online supply as well as neighbourhood on-call supply of essential commodities from Wednesday, Mr. Kamath promised.
With the three-day lockout being relaxed on Tuesday for a few hours followed by another three-day lockout, enforcement authorities were concerned over the possible pandemonium when people come out in large numbers to buy essential commodities.
Already under panic, people might resort to further panic buying to store essential commodities for future complete lockdowns, if any.
Sources said that the bureaucracy was against a complete lockdown as people would be pushed to further panic and was in favour of extended open hours with street-side vending of essential commodities to avoid crowding.
However, the elected representatives of the district, including MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and Minister Mr. Poojari, have insisted for a complete lockdown to prevent further spread of COVID-19.