Amid the complete lockdown of country as a measure to curtail  Coronavirus Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday, said, the government is monitoring the availability of essential commodities in the market amid nationwide lockdown for next 21 days to check the spread of COVID-19 outbreak.

Paswan took to Twitter and said, In view of situation emerging from the threat of #Covid19 in India, the government is keeping an eye on availability of all essential commodities in the market.”

Paswan warned manufacturers and traders against profiteering during this period.

The Centre is also in touch with the state governments to ensure that there is no shortage of essential commodities”, he said.

“I appeal to all manufacturers and traders to avoid from profiteering in this situation,” Paswan  further said in his tweet.

“The Centre and state governments have taken measures to ensure that the supply of all essential items continue smoothly”, said Paswan, seeking to allay apprehensions among people about availability of food and other essential provisions.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued guidelines for the 21 days lockdown. In this lockdown, citizens need not panic as the government guidelines have said all the essential services will be available for the citizens. Shops including ration shops (under PDS) dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder will remain operational.

Finance Minster Nirmala Sithraman also reassured citizens about civic services and had said in  a tweet,  “Due to #COVID2019, the local bodies have to especially focus on providing basic civic services and ensure cleanliness. The amounts to Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu have been released for urban and rural local bodies wherever applicable.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his second address in a week on coronavirus crisis to the nation on Tuesday announced a 21 days strict complete lockdown in the entire nation, starting from midnight.

PM Modi further said it is in a way a curfew and would be more stringent that Janata Curfew.

“Forget about leaving home in the next 21 days. If you cross the Lakshman Rekha, you will invite the virus home,” PM warned citizens.

The deadly virus has taken over nearly 550 people in its grip in the nation with 11 deaths reported. Last week on Thursday, PM had advised a one-day unofficial lockdown to tackle the menace. This was definitely an experimental lockdown as today, PM Modi praising the people’s participation decided to convert it into a massive 21-day ‘strict official lockdown’.

The number of coronavirus cases reached 562 in India, with active cases stand at 512, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.