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By Saradha | May 06, 2020 01:52 PM

Over the past few days, Koyambedu Market has become the centre of discussions about coronavirus in Chennai. The market has emerged as one of the biggest causes for the spread of the virus in the city. 

How did Koyambedu become the Coronavirus Hotspot of TN? Report!

What went wrong?

Social distancing norms were overlooked at the market right from Day 1. As per media reports, on March 25, the first day of the lockdown, officials went to the market and informed that the retail section of the market will not function.  However, media reports claim that the market was functioning as usual with no social distancing rules being followed. 

Reportedly, on day 2 officials themselves allowed shops to run as usual citing that it was not a restricted area. The outlets in Koyambedu market are closely knit and continued to stay that way even after the nation-wide lockdown was imposed. 

How did the Corporation and CMDA handle the situation?

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is handling a pandemic of this scale for the first time. Apart from lack of manpower, it also faced administrative hurdles. 

The Essential Commodities Act claims that the Market Management Committee (MMC) is in direct control of the market and hence they took the final call. Due to this, CMDA couldn’t directly get involved in decision making. Media reports claim that even traders raised concern about many people from across different districts visiting the market.


The spread of the virus

The number of coronavirus cases kept increasing in the state in the subsequent days.  As per the New Indian Express’ report, the market was worst-hit on Saturday when people resorted to panic buying before going into the four-day complete lockdown. On that day, all the commodities were sold out in double or triple the wholesale rate.

The CMDA and Chennai corporation resorted to the option of door-to-door delivery of sale of vegetables across the city to avoid mass gatherings.  Instead of reducing the congestion, it rather led to an increase in number of positive cases since people flocked to the market to buy vegetables and other edibles.

By this time, even the traders possessed the risk of being carriers or testing positive. On April 27, a coriander trader tested positive for COVID19 and other traders were tested and contact tracing was done. 

A meeting was held by senior officials and almost after a day the decision to ban retail trade and shift the fruit market to Madhavaram was taken on April 28. On Monday, 527 people tested positive in the state and a media bulletin released by the state mentioned that a “large number of cases are linked to Koyambedu market.”

“At least 7,500 more people linked to the market, now spread across several districts in Tamil Nadu, are being traced to check the spread of the highly contagious virus. Most of them are workers and vegetable sellers at the market,” NDTV reported. On the same day, the wholesale vegetable market was shut and moved to Thirumazhisai.

The government is still trying to trace people related to the market in order to test them for COVID- 19.

அரசியல், விளையாட்டு, நாட்டுநடப்பு, குற்ற சம்பவங்கள், வர்த்தகம், தொழில்நுட்பம், சினிமா, வாழ்க்கை முறை என பலதரப்பட்ட சுவாரஸ்யமான செய்திகளை தமிழில் படிக்க இங்கு கிளிக் செய்யவும்