Huge traffic jams were reported on the Delhi-Gurugram expressway and the Noida-Delhi border on Monday morning in spite of the lockdown in several cities across three states – Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.
Traffic police personnel present on the spot, however, allowed doctors, paramedical staff and those carrying supplies of essential commodities to cross over.
“Vehicles coming to Delhi from Gurugram were stopped at the border. It seems people are not honouring the lockdown and are not taking it seriously. You can imagine this by the sheer size of the crowd,” said Dr Pradeep Singla, who was going to a hospital in Karol Bagh from Gurugram.
“This is dangerous in view of the coronavirus epidemic,” said Singla.
The Delhi and Uttar Pradesh governments have appealed to the people not to violate the lockdown and remain indoors to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, in spite of the appeals, vehicles in large numbers gathered in the border areas since Monday morning despite the huge police deployment. The motorists returned only after the police warned them of strict action.
“An ambulance got stuck in the traffic for more than half an hour due to the traffic jam,” said Devendra Sangwan, a government official.
The Haryana police also closed an export company in Sector-38 of Gurugram which was open despite the lockdown order.
Delhi, which has reported 30 cases of Coronavirus, including a death, has gone into a complete lockdown with offices and shops being closed, public transport including metro services shut and borders sealed from Monday till March 31, barring all essential services.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday announced announced the unprecedented shutdown. Flanked by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, he said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an extraordinary situation and calls for extraordinary measures.”
He said all borders of Delhi with Harayan and Uttar Pradesh will be sealed, but essential items from neighboring states, such as food items like vegetables, milk etc. will keep coming.
No public transport services, including operation of private buses, taxis, autorickshaw, rickshaws and e-rickshaws is permitted.
The Delhi government also issued an order, saying all shops, commercial establishments, factories, workshops, offices, warehouses, weekly bazaars, etc shall be closed in the city during the lockdown.
All the restaurants have been ordered shut, and only takeaways and home deliveries are permitted.