Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to people to refrain from "panic buying", people in various parts of the national capital were on Friday seen queuing up outside grocery shops and pharmacies to stock up essential items.
Many people in the city fear that even going to markets could pose a threat and departmental stores have started reporting a gap in demand and supply of commodities.
Dilpreet Kaur, a housewife and a resident of Janakpuri area, said she has stocked essential food items like wheat, sugar and oil.
"We are not going to the market because the virus is out there. If we go to the market daily for food and vegetables, then there is a greater chance of contracting the disease. I would rather prefer to store food stock for a month or two," she said, hoping that her family would not have to venture out incase of exigency," she said.
Harpeet Kaur, a school teacher, said she has stocked ration for 15 days.
"If today emergency is declared, then we will cook dal, roti and rice," she said.
The Delhi government on Friday ordered closure of all malls and haat bazaars in the national capital in view of the coronavirus threat, but exempted grocery stores and pharmacies in them.
Calling for "resolve and restraint" to fight coronavirus, Prime Minister Modi on Thursday asked the entire country to observe 'Janta curfew' on Sunday.
Modi also said "panic-buying" must be avoided and essential things, including medicines, should not be hoarded.
There were serpentine queues outside departmental stores like Kendriya Bhandar and EasyDay and people were seen stocking up essential commodities and even masks and sanitisers, which have been very high in demand since the outbreak.
Anil Rohila, a regular customer of EasyDay at Vishwas Nagar area, said since the coronavirus outbreak, household stuff has been high on demand.
"We visited two-three shops for buying dal and sanitiser but it is difficult to find out. We have to wait as there is no other option left," he said while standing in a long queue to fill his trolley with necessary household items.
Another customer, Lalit rued the shortage of hand sanitiser.
Anuj, an EasyDay employee, said there is a gap between demand and supply, but the store has been getting new stock regularly.
"There is enough for everyone if we all work together," he added.
Gajendra Yadav, a head constable with the Delhi Police, said if people keep stocking up food items then what will be left for others.
Manoj Tiwari, an employee of Kendriya Bhandar at Mahadev Road, said although there has been a rise in demand as people have been stocking up food items, but they have been replenishing it regularly.