With over 20 million people in India testing positive for COVID-19 over the last year, the pandemic has made its presence felt in the lives of most people. Over the last few weeks, as cases rose to record highs, medical supplies ran low, prompting hundreds to take desperate measures in their quest to help loved ones.
From frantic social media messages calling for essential drugs and oxygen cylinders to following leads into potentially precarious situations - there have been innumerable heartbreaking stories reported recently. And on Saturday, people in Tamil Nadu added yet another to the list, as a large group came together due to their search for Remdesivir.
Visuals shared by news agency ANI showed dozens of people standing in exceedingly close quarters outside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai to get Remdesivir. While most appeared to be wearing masks, some had it perched on their chins and mouths.
"My entire family is in hospital. I'm trying for last 10 days but haven't got medicine yet. Govt is trying to organise beds but no improvement on Remdesivir," a local was quoted as saying.
In the meantime, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin has issued a stern warning against the hoarding of Remdesivir or selling of oxygen cylinders at exorbitant rates. Such actions, he said on Saturday, would attract police action under the stringent Goondas Act.
Stalin said that while the public have accepted the "bitter pill" of lockdown some "anti-social elements" were out to cause harm. The public, he said, had extended cooperation to save lives despite the curbs affecting their livelihood.
"Similarly, complaints are being received that at some places oxygen cylinders are being sold at high rates. Indulging in such acts during a pandemic is a severe crime," he said.
(With inputs from agencies)