The coronavirus outbreak which was declared a pandemic by World Health Organisation (WHO) on March 11 brought in fear among the citizens of Guwahati.

The virus was initially reported in Wuhan, China in 2019. Going by the definition given by WHO coronaviruses are zoonotic which suggests that they’re transmitted between animals and other people . After this news, people started hesitating in buying meat and seafood which led to an enormous drop in meat and fish markets worldwide. Guwahatians also became reluctant in consuming meat and seafood.

Speaking to G Plus, president of Guwahati Meat Association, Muslim Ali said that since the past 10 days butcher shop has been down. “Our business has completely dropped. People have suddenly stopped buying meat after the coronavirus outbreak. it’ll worsen within the coming days,” said Ali.

“Meat prices have also gone down. it had been Rs 700 per kg but now it’s Rs 650 per kg. If it continues to travel like this then we’ve to consider some alternate business to feed ourselves and our family,” Ali added.

Not just mutton, sale of chicken has also dipped. Arizul Rahman, who owns a chicken shop in Kumarpara told G Plus, “Earlier we might sell 90-100 kilograms per day but since the past 10-15 days sales have dropped drastically. Now, per day we sell just 30-40 kilograms.”

“Prices of chicken have also dipped. We used to sell it for Rs 100 per kilogram but now we are selling for Rs 70 per kilogram. i feel we’ll soon need to shut our shop and look for some other business,” Rahman added.

Earlier, a video of a market in Assam’s Baksa district selling dead rats went viral on social media. This raised concerns for the health department over fears of Coronavirus outbreak within the country. At the Kumarikata Bazar along Indo-Bhutan border, rodent meat is sold as an area delicacy. Skinned rats are sold at Rs 200 a kilogram, and sometimes the prices increases. Post this, the district administration conducted mass awareness drives in Kumarikata, Duminibagan, Darranga, Tamulpur and other areas.

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