Pandav Nagar’s Galli No. 9, one of 21 coronavirus hotspots identified by the Delhi government, has been sealed with outsiders not being allowed entry and residents instructed not to step out of their homes.
Two civil defence volunteers of Delhi police, wearing masks and gloves, stand guard outside the closed gate on which a notice hangs with instructions for those under home quarantine.
“Bohot darr hai sahab (There’s a lot of fear),” said Naveen whose grocery shop is right next to the gate. “I open the store for barely two hours,” he added, explaining that residents have to come to the gate to collect their purchase. No one is allowed to go outside.
The Delhi government announced sealing of many areas, most of them in east and south of the city, where several Covid-19 cases had been detected. As many as 21 areas were designated as containment zones, as per the state government’s daily health bulletin.
Similar measures have been announced in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh where multiple hotspots spread across 15 districts were sealed.
Standing on his balcony, J.P. Rathore told The Telegraph Online that he has been indoors since March 24 ever since the lockdown was announced.
“Sab theek hai, lekin jo rules hai follow karne padenge (It is okay. We’ll have to follow the rules),” he said, but complained that home delivery of groceries hasn’t been happening as promised.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had promised that his government would take care of delivering food and groceries to those living in containment zones.
“We have sealed these areas wherein nobody is allowed to enter the specific lane, colony or apartment, and nobody is allowed to leave,” Sisodia had said.
Around 8km away are Mayur Vihar and Vasundhara Enclave, both upmarket areas lined by gated apartment complexes. Both have been sealed by the government.
In Vasundhara Enclave, Mansara Apartments is one such society whose gates are shut. Outside, sheltered in a colourful tent, four uniformed men from Delhi police and civil defence stand guard. The society with 85 flats has been sealed since March 31.
The guards, who work in 12-hour shifts, explained the drill. They are not allowed to touch anything. All items, like, say, medicines, groceries and food that are delivered, are kept on a bench at the gate. Residents are expected to come and collect it.
“We get things delivered from outside and just sit and enjoy ourselves in our homes. You try and not get frustrated,” said Vikas Singh, a businessman who has been indoors at Mansara Apartmentssince March 16. He was on self-quarantine even before the complex was sealed.
In South Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, things are different. Unlike civil defence volunteers or policemen posted in other areas, there were large number of paramilitary forces deployed. Armed with guns and teargas shells, the men stood guard outside sealed areas and lanes and bylanes.
Two blocks of Nizamuddin West were sealed on Wednesday night, as per the government’s list. These blocks are about a kilometre away from the markaz, where members of the Tablighi Jamaat were staying before many of them were found to be Covid-19 positive.
As on Thursday, 430 of those in the markaz had tested positive.
The guards said people were only allowed to step out for essentials, like milk and groceries. Masks were a must. Anyone else was immediately told to go inside.