Cut off amid CVID-19 lockdown: How a positive case next door changes the way I live

One of the latest novel coronavirus positive case in Delhi is at Kalkaji — a house away from mine

By Vibha Varshney
Published: Thursday 30 April 2020

April 29, 2020 began normally — by lockdown standards. Around 6 am, our street dogs, Chunnu and Munnu, barked incessantly for around 30 minutes but we did not pay attention. We did not step out to check as they are pretty excitable and bark even at silk cotton floating down from the trees.

But at 7 am, we realised that the ruckus was because an ambulance that had come to pick up our neighbour, who tested positive of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

Surprisingly, things continued to be normal: Two vegetable vendors came; I even went to get milk. But by 8.30 am we realised the gravity of being a COVID-19 hotspot.

A bunch of people swarmed the road in front of our house. One went around taking details like the number of people living in the house, their names and ages. All interactions happened through grilled gates and we were told not to step out of the house.

Two men tied yellow police tapes to trees and blocked the road from both sides. Two policemen went around ensuring the road was truly blocked by putting cars and scooters across them.

Three houses, including mine, were cordoned off. A municipal sanitisation truck arrived and hosed down our house fronts with a bleach solution.

A policeman asked the patients’ wife about those he might have come in contact with. From what I could overhear, he took his daughter to the hospital a few days ago. I presume he caught the infection there.

A round of police announcements urged everyone to stay indoors. The residents’ welfare association shared contacts of people we could talk to if we wanted anything delivered.

As instructed by a social worker, I downloaded the Aarogya Setu app, but couldn’t verify it as my one-time password was invalid. I will try again. 

After this, it was deadly quiet.

I live in a non-gated colony. We had vegetable vendors coming in during the lockdown; small grocers dot the area. We could easily go buy things or get them delivered. But being cordoned off seems to be a different ball game. Now we will be dependent on others for everything. Let’s see how this works out. 

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