Is Latur inching towards a COVID-19 Red Zone?

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Amid the pandemic, when the world is locked indoors, the people of Latur continue to live their lives, as if nothing ever happened.

Maharashtra is the worst-affected Indian State due to the coronavirus outbreak. As of Tuesday, the positive cases stand at 23,401. Major cities such as Mumbai and Pune have recorded the maximum number of cases, and the administration is having a hard time containing the numbers.

Amid the pandemic, when the world is locked indoors, the people of Latur continue to live their lives, as if nothing ever happened.

Maharashtra is the worst-affected Indian State due to the coronavirus outbreak. As of Tuesday, the positive cases stand at 23,401. Major cities such as Mumbai and Pune have recorded the maximum number of cases, and the administration is having a hard time containing the numbers.

Latur is one of the less affected cities of Maharashtra. With the number of COVID-19 patients at 35 and one reported death, Latur has been considerably safe. But as a precautionary measure, the city has been kept under lockdown with some relaxations.

Even if ignorance is bliss, it is not so always. Amid the pandemic, when the world is locked indoors, the people of Latur continue to live their lives, as if nothing ever happened. The city is painted with warnings against COVID-19, and yet the people refuse to follow the lockdown impositions. With shutters half open and triple seat rides, the people here are living on the edge.

The norms of social distancing are openly violated, and the people here refuse to listen to the administration. Even though the shops are open and people are allowed to venture out of their homes, the only expectation to maintain distance to contain the spread of the virus from any asymptomatic person. Yet, the people of Latur are visibly precarious about the norms.

Adding to the cause of worry is the shortage of water. Latur is a drought-prone area and is currently inching towards a situation of severe water scarcity. With a virus that can be only prevented with proper hygiene and a city violating social distancing norms, it is difficult to predict what is to come next for Latur. If the situation is not appropriately handled, the city could be the next hotspot for the virus, crippling the administration’s efforts.

Text: Najooka Javier
Photojournalist: Prathamesh Ausekar