Fear and anger as India’s Bihar locks down again Jul 16, 2020 0 331 12345 AFPPatnaThousands of Indians ignored social distancing rules to throng markets in Patna on Wednesday, desperate to stock up on essentials before midnight when Bihar state’s 125 million inhabitants go into coronavirus lockdown.With the vast nation’s coronavirus caseload fast approaching one million -- and around 500 people dying every day -- many cities and regions are reimposing restrictions, including IT hub Bangalore, where streets were deserted Wednesday.The 15-day lockdown ordered in northern Bihar, one of India’s most impoverished states, means only shops selling essentials will be allowed to open.Public transport will cease, while all schools, clubs and temples must also close.Unlike in Bangalore, which went into a seven-day shutdown on Tuesday night, private vehicles will still be allowed on Bihar’s roads.Construction and agricultural work can also continue.Radhika Singh, a housewife in her late 40s, was one of just a few shoppers wearing a facemask on Wednesday as she jostled for rice, lentils and other staples at a Patna market.“We have not faced such a situation in my life before, it is really a horrible experience,” she told AFP.The lack of personal protection gear and flouting of social distancing regulations led some to be angry about the re-imposed lockdown.“People don’t concern themselves,” Syed Amin Iqbal, a retired bank employee, told AFP.“This lockdown is a must to break the chain of the virus spreading.”He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government had failed to check the epidemic, and had also shown little concern for the poor, who have been hit the hardest.“People are left at God’s mercy,” he said.A nationwide lockdown imposed almost overnight in late March left tens of millions of migrant workers without jobs, prompting many to return to their home villages -- some on foot.In Patna, the immediate concern was stocking up on supplies.Neelam Devi, who comes from a poor community, was buying a hefty 59-kilogramme sack of rice and 15 kilos of flour from a wholesale grain market Wednesday.“During the earlier lockdown, we ran out of rice and flour because failed to purchase ahead of lockdown. This time we decided not to repeat the mistake.” Pages 123 RELATED ARTICLES India, EU agree to set up high-level ministerial dialogue, no pact in sight Jul 16, 2020 0 331 China to sanction US in retaliation for legislation on Hong Kong Jul 16, 2020 0 340 COVID-19 patients won’t be forced from homes: Philippine govt Jul 16, 2020 0 115 New Zealand opposition picks ‘Crusher’ to challenge Ardern AFP Wellington New Zealand’s opposition has installed a conservative veteran nicknamed “Crusher” as leader as it regroups for the daunting task of trying to oust Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a September general .. Clashes at Afghan-Pakistan border leave four civilians dead DPA Kabul Afghan border force checkpoints reportedly came under artillery attack on Wednesday, according to a provincial councillor and the spokesman for the province’s police chief. The clashes have left four .. Vietnam welcomes US position on South China Sea conflict DPA Hanoi Vietnam has welcomed comments from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said China’s aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea are unlawful, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on .. Death toll in Indonesian flash floods rises to 21, with 23 missing Jakarta The death toll from flash floods that devastated a district in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province has risen to 21, as aid trickled in to affected communities, officials said on Wednesday. At least 23 people .. Visitor numbers to Japan down 99.9 per cent for third straight month Tokyo The number of overseas visitors to Japan plunged by 99.9 per cent in June compared to a year earlier, as pandemic-related travel restrictions decimate the tourism industry, the Japan National Tourism ..