Chennai's Koyambedu market poses COVID threat to Kerala and 2 other states
Chennai: A market here has put the South Indian states under COVID-19 threat just as a Wuhan market became a pandemic epicentre. Koyambedu market has been confirmed as the epicentre of Coronavirus cases in many places in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Seven cases in Kerala and 26 in Andhra were connected with the market.
Koyambedu market is a linking point between flower, vegetable and fruits farmers and the public in Chennai. Apart from Tamil Nadu, fruits and vegetables are brought to the market from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharsthra and Uttar Pradesh. The farmers in these places bring crops directly in vehicles or through middlemen to the market.
Pineapple, ginger, cardamom, jackfruit and other crops are taken from Kerala to Koyambedu. During the return trip, they also carry watermelon from Dindivanam. Potato is brought from Karnataka and UP while onion is delivered from Nasik in Maharashtra. Some markets were closed after a labourer was affected with COVID-19 in Nasik. Ginger and flowers from Karnataka and carrot, beetroot and capsicum from Nilgiri also reach the market.
According to statistics, around 900 vehicles from within and outside the state reach Koyambedu market every day to unload goods. People who bring the goods usually stay for a few days in the unclean surroundings of the market. As the entire market is ruled by merchants, even the government had to remain mute spectators when the social distancing protocol was frequently violated there during the lockdown.
All the seven COVID positive cases confirmed in Wayanad lately were connected with Koyambedu market. Two of them were affected due to direct contact and five of them through secondary contact. This includes a driver who returned from Koyambedu market, his wife, mother, cleaner's son, his friend, a worker in a godown where the driver visited and a labourer who went to Koyambedu.
In Tamil Nadu, the number of COVID patients who were infected from Koyambedu market has crossed 2000. Another 26 people who visited Koyambedu and returned to Chittoor, Nellore and Kadapa in Andhra were tested positive later. The date from Maharashtra and Karnataka is yet to come. The lorries which arrived to unload goods in the market carried virus back to their places. So, the South Indian states including Kerala need to be more alert.