Delhi's drug market shut till June 4 due to Covid-19 scare

Maitri Porecha New Delhi | Updated on May 30, 2020 Published on May 30, 2020

After at least 14 Covid-19 positive cases have been discovered in India’s largest wholesale drug market, Delhi Drug Traders Association took a call to shut it down at least till June 4.

Those infected include thirteen traders and one staff personnel.

India has recorded 1,73,763 Covid-19 cases until May 30, of which close to 86,422 cases are active, while another 82,370 cases have recovered. Another 4971 persons have died, according to figures shared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The national capital alone has recorded 17,386 cases of which 9,142 cases are active, while another 7,846 cases have recovered. 398 persons have died till date.

The wholesale-cum-retail market is situated in Bhagirath Palace in Chandni Chowk area of North Delhi and has approximately 570 wholesale drug trader shops. Apart from the pharmaceutical market, it also houses the electronics market.

“Close to a fortnight back, two persons from the market were found positive for Covid-19, then four to five days ago, this surged to ten, and then two days back, there were four to five more cases,” said Ashish Grover, Secretary, DDTA.

“The AC Market in Central Bank Building has at least 4 to 5 positive cases. So the AC Market will remain closed from May 30 to June 4. The other parts of the market housed in buildings like Omkar Bhawan, Milaap Bhawan and rest of drug market in Bhagirath Palace will be closed from June 1 onwards,” he said.

Because medicines are considered essential items, shops did not follow an odd-even system to open up. Customers were flooding the shops at times leading to crowding. Grover said that DDTA was requesting the local authorities in Sub-District Magistrate’s office to ensure that timely sanitisation of the market takes place. “Customers that frequent the market do not practise appropriate social distancing norms, which has now eventually led to sudden eruption of cases. We have shut the market down in light of safety of our traders, their families and staff,” said Grover.

The market mainly caters to business across India and also exports substantial quantities of drugs. Grover said that during the two months of the lockdown, the business was down. “Because of unavailability of transport there was hardly any business. Most traders were not opening up shops, but some were. Now we have ordered a shut down because of a spurt in cases,” he explained.

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Published on May 30, 2020
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