11:45 GMT27 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Amid the 21-day lockdown to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, free movement of people has been restricted in India until 14 April. There has been a massive surge in online shopping for essential goods amid reports of shortages and panic buying.

    On Friday, a research report by online platform LocalCircles found that a lack of clarity on instructions to Indian police and local authorities on movement of essential commodities and people has created confusion.

    The report suggested that during the first two days of the national lock-down, 79 percent of users who took to online websites did not get their deliveries. People complained that they were unable to receive products because of undersupply, or the online retailers were overloaded with doorstep delivery demands.

    “The root cause has been identified as lack of clear instructions to police and local officials on the ground which has been leading to restrictions on movement of vehicles carrying essential goods and people who are engaged in warehousing, wholesale, retail and home deliveries,” the report said.

    ​Pictures of delivery personnel being assaulted and beaten in cities such as Delhi and Mumbai also made the rounds on social media.

    ​Twitter became the focus for frustrated customers, who wrote about how e-commerce sites like Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket. Grofers and others were not responding positively to the lockdown.

    ​On 25 March, police authorities in Delhi agreed to provide assistance to the delivery workers of e-commerce websites so that isolated citizens are able to receive their goods, the media reported.

    ​The Mumbai Police also tweeted emergency numbers that delivery executives could call if they faced harassment of any kind.

    ​According to LocalCircles, in the last 48 hours, the percentage of customers trying to find items they need on web-based marketplaces fell from 79 percent to 61 percent – indicating that the warehouses of online markets are being replenished.

    ​​People are also approaching retail grocery stores in their localities to look for items they could not order online.

    ​Amid the coronavirus scare, grocery stores in India are strictly adhering to the “social distancing” parameters suggested by the government in order to stay protected from person-to-person transmission.

    ​The outbreak of the pandemic virus has seen teh world resort to social distancing. Since the COVID19 virus is new, a vaccine is not yet available.

    According to data released by the federal Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Friday, 17 people in India have died due to the infection, while the number of positive cases reached 724, including 47 foreign nationals. 

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