Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown starting 25th March to contain the spread of deadly Covid-19, people across the country rushed outside their homes to buy rations and other essentials. There were long queues outside the grocery shops with people resorting to 'panic buying'.
In half an hour-long speech. PM Modi urged the people to remain inside their homes during the complete 21-day lockdown and said that the central and state government would ensure the supply of essential goods. But there was no clarity on how it would be made available to the common people, the confusion resulted in people coming out in number to stock eatables for lockdown.
However, the Home Ministry was slow to issue the orders pertaining to the availability of essential goods. The order was issued almost half an hour after Modi completed his address to the nation. But half an hour was enough to trigger panic among the people who defied already existing lockdown to come out on streets to buy essentials.
The situation became so grave that PM Modi tweeted from his personal account informing that essential goods will be made available to calm down the nerves. His Tweet read, "By converging around shops, you are risking the spread of COVID-19. No panic buying, please. Please stay indoors. I repeat- Centre and State Governments will ensure all essentials are available."
Following essential services will be functional during the 21-day lockdown
- Hospitals and all related medical establishments, including their manufacturing and distribution units, both in public and private sectors, such as dispensaries, chemists and medical equipment shops, laboratories, clinics, nursing homes, ambulance, etc. will continue to remain functional. The transportation for all medical personnel, nurses, para-medical staff, and other hospital support services be permitted.
- Shops, including ration shops (under PDS), dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder will continue to be functional.
- Banks, insurance offices, and ATMs. Print and electronic media Telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting, and cable services. IT and IT-enabled Services only (for essential services) and as far as possible to work from home. Delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through E-commerce.
- Hotels, homestays, lodges, and motels which are accommodating tourists and persons stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea crew. Also, the establishments used and earmarked for quarantine facilities.