Fear and anxiety gripped Margao on Monday after a restaurateur and a shopkeeper tested positive for COVID-19 in the new market on Sunday. As the restaurant and the shop witnessed a large number of customers on a daily basis, residents of the commercial town seemed visibly perturbed.
With the new market remaining shut for a week from Monday onwards, following the news of the COVID cases, the tracing of the contacts could be a difficult task, as most of the customers of the restaurant and the shop were daily wage workers and retailers who
usually visited the establishments in the morning. It is unclear how many customers the restaurateur served before testing positive for the virus.
The Margao municipal council undertook sanitisation of the restaurant, shop and the surrounding areas in the market.
“We are keeping our shops closed for eight days after learning about
the positive cases. The restaurant employees have been taken for testing on Monday and the results are awaited. The hotel is presently shut. We are worried, as we don’t know how many people visited the hotel in the last few days,” said Vinod Shirodkar, the president of the New Market Vendors’ Association. He added that the closure of the market could be extended beyond eight days.
It may be noted that a homeless man was recently found dead by the roadside in the commercial town. On testing, he was found to be positive for the virus.
With the restaurateur and the shopkeeper now getting infected and many homeless persons loitering in front of shops in the market, there is panic among the Margao residents.
“It is risky to shop in the Margao market in view of the fast spreading virus. A total lockdown for 14 days is required to break the COVID chain,” said a visitor to the market.
The gates of the new market were kept open for an hour on Monday for the vendors to take away their perishable items from their respective shops.