Covid-19: Mandis could emerge as new super-spreaders on Gurugram

GURUGRAM: A day after Gurugram witnessed the biggest single-day rally with 11 new Covid cases, nine of which were linked to Delhi's Azadpur mandi and Khandsa mandi of the city, the health department is tracking traders They recently bought supplies from Asia's largest market for fruits and vegetables, now an emerging hotspot.

In Delhi, 17 cases related to Azadpur mandi have so far been reported. A trader died last week, alarming, but the market has not yet closed.

Health authorities in Gurugram are concerned that vendors in the Gurugram, Jhajjar and Bahadurgarh markets, who buy their vegetables from Azadpur, may have been exposed. Those who tested positive on Monday also included sales assistants and other workers.

The health department is now looking into the difficult task of tracking patients' contacts, as well as monitoring everyone who has visited Azadpur mandi in the past 15 days. So far, it has reached out to nearly 1,800 people and collected more than 128 samples. The results of 72 samples are expected while the others have been negative.

“We are tracking the contacts of all the traders who visited the market in the last 15 days. We are also collecting data on each worker and disinfecting the area. Randomized tests will be conducted in homes located near the market, ”said Gurugram medical director JS Punia.

A senior health official said the administration had stepped up surveillance and was also checking everyone on the border.

“As essential service providers, vegetable providers and workers in these markets were allowed to move between Azadpur mandi and the cities during the shutdown. That increased the number of cases. However, we have not allowed anyone to visit Azadpur mandi in the past week, ”said Vinay Yadav, secretary, Haryana State Board of Agriculture Marketing (HSAMB).

Daily, Khandsa mandi, which has 158 stores that offer fruits and vegetables, has a presence of around 2,000 retailers. Apart from this, around 600 people work there every day.

“Before, we had more than 3,000 merchants. The market used to be open to the common man, but now only traders can visit it, Yadav said.

The market, which has been closed until May 8 in view of cases, generally supplies goods to smaller game rooms inside and outside the city, including Kapashera, Mehrauli, Mahipalpur, Sadar Bazar, sector markets, and kisan mandis.

Inder Thakran, president of the Gurugram Sabzi Mandi Association, said supplies would not be a problem. “Around 13 trucks of goods arrive at the market from Azadpur mandi every day. About 100 people used to go to the Delhi market. However, only 15% of the products are from there. Therefore, we will not face any major obstacles regarding supplies, Thakran said.

CMO Punia said the Azadpur mandi link has also been extended to Jhajjar and Sonepat. More than 2,500 samples of mandis have been collected in the two districts. Jhajjar reported eight cases on Tuesday, while Sonepat had six, all related to the vegetable market in the national capital.

Color passes for sellers, buyers.

Also in other markets, the authorities tread with caution. The Pataudi subdivision magistrate, Rajesh Prajapat, ordered Tuesday that the Pataudi and Farrukhnagar vegetable markets be closed on May 6 and 7, respectively. Both mandis will reopen on May 8.

Color-coded passes will be issued to farmers, wholesalers of vegetables, workers and helpers, Prajapat said. A maximum of 400 retailers will receive passes for each vegetable market. While 200 retailers will get green passes, the remaining 200 will get red passes and will consequently operate on alternate days. Yellow passes will be issued to vendors and workers.

“All retailers, wholesalers of vegetables and fruits, and farmers will receive passes soon, after which it would be illegal to enter the market without one. If a person violates the rules, a FIR will be filed against them under the National Disaster Management Act and also under Section 188 of the IPC. Instructions have been given to ensure that pass holders comply with social distancing regulations and wear masks, ”he said.