“Alcohol will energise us to maintain social-distancing during the pandemic”
As nations around the world slowly get on top of the coronavirus pandemic, economies are slowly starting to open up. Malaysia isn’t the only Asian country to loosen lockdown restrictions on Monday as India began to ease parts of their lockdown as well.
While many Malaysians made a beeline for their local pawn shops as soon as restrictions were lifted, in India, the priorities were a little different.
Police in India have had to resort to using batons to beat back Indians who caused chaos outside local liquor stores as many thirsty Indians made a beeline for the chance to buy alcohol for the first time in 40 days. Yup, priorities very much on point!
While India’s abrupt lockdown, the world’s biggest mind you, had its fair share of wobbles, the Indian government credits its harsh shutdown with keeping the total number of coronavirus cases to a rather modest 46,437, with 1566 deaths.
The chaos outside liquor stores should be hardly surprising, given that India happens to be the country that consumes the most whisky in the world. In fact, the country of 1.3 billion people makes up for almost half of the world’s whisky consumption according to International Wine and Spirits Research.
Right before shops opened, officials took the effort to implement social distancing efforts by painstakingly drawing chalk circles for booze buyers to stand in. Sadly, all that effort had gone to waste. As liquor store doors opened across the country, chaos ensued in places such as New Delhi, Kolkata and elsewhere, as the police eventually had to use batons to disperse the crowd.
Why on earth do the people need alcohol that badly, you wonder? Speaking to AFP news agency as he queued outside a liquor store in Kolkata, Asit Banerjee, 55 said “We have been in solitude for over a month, Alcohol will energise us to maintain social-distancing during the pandemic.” Sure sounds like romanticised alcoholism but OK!
In spite of the shutdown of stores, hundreds of people still loitered around the block in hopes that it would reopen. “It’s not like I have anything to do at home,” Deepak Kumar, 30, told AFP as he waited patiently across the street from one outlet in New Delhi.
So there you have it. It only took a pandemic to give us a glaring example of just how much priorities can differ. Stay safe out there, people!