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Noida, April 8, 2020
Already facing a 21-day countrywide lockdown to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people stocked up on groceries and other esentials across Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar and its neighbouring Ghaziabad district after the state government announced its decision to seal "hotspots" in 15 districts.
As per the order, a total of 12 hotspots in Gautam Budh Nagar and 13 in Ghaziabad will be sealed as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 which has so far claimed four lives across Uttar Pradesh, which has 343 confirmed cases.
Grocery stores had long queues soon after the announcement came, with Additional Chief Secretary Avneesh Kumar Awasthi and Director General of Police H. C. Awasthi declaring that selected hotspots in 15 districts in the state will be sealed.
In a press conference, the two officials confirmed that curfew-like measures will be implemented in these hotspot areas, and clarified that normal lockdown measures will be there in other areas.
People rushed out of their homes, forgetting the social distancing request earlier made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he had announced the lockdown on March 24, to stock up on groceries and essential items.
To avoid the panic situation among people, the Gautam Buddha Nagar District Magistrate requested people not to panic and assured them that the government will provide essential goods to them.
"Dear residents, no need for panic buying. Identified hot spots shall be sealed and home delivery of essential commodities and services shall be available at all places in the district. We shall take strict action against rumour mongers and spreaders."
While announcing sealing of hotspots, the Uttar Pradesh government also announced that media will not be allowed to visit in those zones and interconnected "mohalla" visits will also be stopped to maintain social distancing to contain the spread of the deadly disease.