Karol Bagh to Crawford Market, India throngs bazaars for Diwali shopping: Amid fear of fresh Covid spike, here’s what you need to know

AIIMS, Bhopal, Director Sarman Singh said having to be careful did not entail not celebrating festivals. (IE)

Diwali shopping is reaching fever pitch with the festival of lights days away. As people across the country step out for their last-minute deals, there is concern that Covid-19 could rear its head once again.

Visuals of shoppers thronging Delhi’s Sarojini Market on Saturday, putting aside social distancing protocols, have sparked panic among health experts, who have repeatedly urged for caution.

The crowd follows the Delhi Disaster Management Authority further easing Covid-19 norms for the festival season. In its latest order, the authority has allowed all authorised weekly markets to reopen in the city from Monday.

As the crowds thronged at Sarojini Market, a shopkeeper said the market was witnessing huge footfall this season. Most shoppers have been vaccinated against Covid-19, he said.

A similar crowd was also visible at Karol Bagh market as well.

In Mumbai, markets in Crawford Market, Dadar, and Lalbaug were full to the brim with shoppers, who had stepped out ahead of Diwali. Traffic and footfall in trains were also higher.

Markets such as Manish Market, Crawford Market, Dadar, Lohar chawl, Bhuleshwar, and Lalbaug saw huge crowds, forcing the authorities to deploy extra police personnel as precaution.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is also bracing for a rise in Covid-19 cases following the festival season. A civic official said there could be a slight rise in daily caseload additions post-Diwali, but it was unlikely to witness a sudden surge.

Doctors and health experts had earlier warned that the festival season could be dangerous and lead to a surge in caseload if people did not exercise caution. They said failure to follow protocols could lead to social gatherings turning into super-spreader events.

Indian Council of Medical Research Director-General Dr. Balram Bhargava reportedly said before the festival that vaccination was a disease-modifying, not disease-preventing, option.

AIIMS, Raipur, Director Nitin Nagarkar said people needed to remember that cases had dwindled earlier this year as well before shooting up in April.

Nagarkar reportedly said India was reporting around 8,000 cases daily during February, but the caseload surged alarmingly as individuals and communities had become complacent.

AIIMS, Bhopal, Director Sarman Singh said having to be careful did not entail not celebrating festivals. He added technology had empowered everyone to remain socially and emotionally connected virtually.

In an age of digital connectivity and the big e-commerce platforms offering huge discounts throughout the festival season, people have endless options for Diwali shopping. A new advertisement from Cadbury saw Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan promote local shops and stores, urging people to go local.

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