Hyderabad: Streets empty, fear of COVID-19 keeps people indoors

Hyderabad: In a situation almost like last year’s lockdown, streets in the city have once again started running empty as the fear of getting infected with COVID-19 is keeping citizens indoors. The situation has resulted in traffic decreasing to a large extent, even during peak hours, across the city.

Tension of the ongoing situation is palpable, given that Telangana reported over 5,000 new cases on Sunday alone. COVID-19 cases have been rising exponentially in the city over the past few weeks, with the Greater Hyderabad region topping the numbers daily. On Sunday, close to 800 of the cases were from the state’s capital. Major markets and businesses also seem to be in a lull, as most people have decided they would rather be safe than sorry.

Traffic is down by such an extent that one can even travel between Secunderabad and Hitec City in about 30 minutes, even in the evenings. Earlier this week as well, there seemed to be lesser traffic during peak hours in the evening as well. The busy Madhapur-Jubilee Hills-Nagarjuna Circle road too had free flowing traffic on Saturday, which was highly unusual.

Hyderabad: Streets empty, fear of COVID-19 keeps people indoors
The usually busy Madhapur-Cyber Towers main road on Sunday morning, a little before noon. (Photo: Siasat)

“Many people are not venturing out, and our business is down by at least 50%. In Ramzan especially there would be no place to walk or even drive around post 6 p.m. Now, I have been able to go from High Court to Abids is less than 10 minutes,” said Shahzad M., a resident of the Old City.

On Sunday too, which is usually choc-a-bloc with party goers and outings in the evening, there was a clear lull among business establishments across the city. The owner of a restaurant chain, who did not want to be quoted, said that streets have been empty from the last one week. “Customers don’t want to take a risk and come out. All that we can do is hope that the government vaccinates everyone,” he added.

A resident of Kukatpally, who did not want to be quoted, said that her gated community has over 40 COVID-19 positive cases, due to which nobody is entering or leaving unless it is absolutely necessary. Except for certain establishments like general stores, medical shops, and hotels most other businesses are once again seeing a downward slop with regard to revenue.

On Sunday, state health minister Eatala Rajender also asked people in the state to be very cautious and wear masks without fail while stepping out. In Hyderabad, Hyderabad Kirana Merchant’s association announced that it would have a self-imposed shutdown at the Begum Bazar market from 5 p.m. daily in view of increasing COVID-19 cases. However, shopkeepers in the commercial area were mostly not interested in following the diktat, as most places are open as usual until last week.