Kohima: As the fortnight-long total lockdown in the Kohima municipal areas ended on Friday, the state’s capital is now limping back to normalcy. According to the Kohima District Task Force (DTF), the total lockdown which was imposed from July 25 has reduced the local transmission of COVID-19 cases among the public.
As permitted business establishments opened for the public on Saturday from 7 am to 4 pm, EastMojo visited the main town area in Kohima and spotted Loniyale, a street vendor who sat by the roadside near UBC church.
With cucumbers, tomatoes and other vegetables laid down in front of her, she awaited for customers. When approached, she opened up saying: “For today, the sale is not really good. Although the total lockdown has been lifted, there are not much people”.
She then said that due to the lockdown, street vendors have been facing difficulties. “For vegetable vendors like us, even if we do not come for a day, it becomes a trouble. And to undergo weeks of total lockdown is a huge problem,” she added.
Loniyale told EastMojo that she has been purchasing the vegetables from the local farmers across Kohima, Wokha and Phek. She further said “We buy the vegetables for sale. If we we store it for long, it rots. That becomes a problem because we cannot sell the rotten vegetables which takes a heavy toll on daily wage earners like me”.
While she sat with her mask on, she shared that sanitizing her hands after greeting customers has become a ritual. She said that it has now become a habit to sanitize hands after exchange of currency notes.
Like her, Ating, a street vendor selling anchovies just outside the Kohima local ground, said that total lockdown took a toll on her as she only sat idle at home with nothing to do.
A bread earner for the family, she said that as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, there may be a need for more lockdown. “But for business like ours, we run at a huge loss,” she said.
Gloves and masks have become very essential for vendors and it will be nice the customers also wear masks and gloves while buying goods, she added. As she hit the street to sell her goods after 14 days of total lockdown, she gladly said that she is now able to sell off her goods.
Noelyn, a resident of Kohima who set out to procure medicines for her ailing father, said that if the total lockdown has contributed to the decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases, there should be more total lockdown.
She said: “I think the total lockdown should be there if it is helping in reducing the number of positive cases. But as it now been lifted, it is each and every one’s responsibility to follow the regulations that are given to us by the authorities”.
“Wear masks, maintain social distancing, come out only when it is really necessary. It is best to stay home and be safe,” she added.
The state-wide lockdown measures continues to be in force till August 31. In Kohima, the timing set for markets to open and the odd-even system for movement of vehicles also continues to remain in force.
Although a total of 265 new cases of COIVD-19 has been reported during the total lockdown period, DSO Dr Aseno, in the District Task Force (DTF) meeting had revealed that the number of contact tracing for testing outside the QCs has declined during the 14 day total lockdown period which ultimately resulted in lesser positive cases at COVID Hospital and COVID Care Centre.
The chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Vezokholu also said that during the total lockdown, movement of positive cases to COVID Hospital/Care Centre, sample collection and sealing of virus outbreak areas became easier.