Small-scale food vendors, eager to sell their products, broke into the major food market in the town of Riobamba last week. Government regulations restrict access only to larger-scale vendors––the owners of shops and minimarkets, who have official documents registering them as commercial enterprises. Such small-scale vendors, often of Indigenous peasant background, are an established tradition in the highlands, and a key element of food supply networks that have been choked by the shutdown.
Below, a video posted on Twitter shows vendors entering the market in Riobamba:
#URGENTE_RIOBAMBA: El día de ayer, Martes 21 de abril, en horas de la mañana #decenas de #comerciantes informales #rompieron el cerco de #seguridad en el mercado #Mayorista que días atras fue instalado por la policia nacional para evitar la #propagacion del #coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/B5ONKwD5Ko— La Prensa Chimborazo (@LaPrensaInforma) April 22, 2020
Quechua Indigenous communities Facundo Vela and Simiatug near Chimborazo put up a roadblock to prevent infected people from entering.
There are concerns of infection both from tourists (some French tourists, who were infected with Covid-19, attended a village wedding, placing local people at risk), and from local people who are returning from the coastal city of Guayaquil, the center of the pandemic, to which they migrated for work.
Much as mountain residents in Ecuador seek to return from lowland cities with high rates of infection––the same is true in Pakistan. In the Broghil region, a high mountain pass in the Hindu Kush, the Pamir Times reports food insecurity issues as workers return to the area after the lockdown.
A wooden foot bridge in the Broghil valley of #Chitral photographed last week by Umer Rafi.— PAMIR TIMES ® (@pamirtimes) April 26, 2020
Rafi told Pamri Times that the Broghil region is facing issues of food insecurity due to the CoVID-19 situation, as most local workers have returned to the region after the lockdown.
The Pamir Times reported around 7,000 residents of Gilgit-Pakistan are stranded in Karachi due to the pandemic.
Hunza is a mountainous valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, where women artisans are producing masks for nearby communities in the country’s mountainous north.
KADO donates masks made by women artisans to communities in Shimshal and Chipursan valleys in #Hunza, Astore, Diamar and Ghizer.— PAMIR TIMES ® (@pamirtimes) April 23, 2020
KADO will collaborate with Rupani Foundation to scale up production of high-quality surgical masks in Hunza. The venture will benefit 1,500 women. pic.twitter.com/ceTzP6Q8gF
Ramazan 2020 (also spelled Ramadan), began on April 23, with some modifications. Clerics of Baltistan decided not to hold Friday prayers in Mosques.
Clerics of #Baltistan, in a meeting chaired by Allama Sheikh Hassan Jaffry, have decided to not hold Friday prayers in Mosques during #Ramazan2020.— PAMIR TIMES ® (@pamirtimes) April 22, 2020
They have also decided to not organize #Iftar gatherings at mosques in order to stop the spread of #Coronavirus.
By: Rajab Qamar pic.twitter.com/nvLjcoLdxV
A response from the local religious leaders in Gilgit-Baltistan urging people to listen to medical professionals and adhere to science and to “Pray at home, stay safe, keep others safe.”
“ Listen to your doctors, don’t disregard science” PAKISTAN needs unity, clarity and purpose in this existential fight against #Coronavirus says @BBhuttoZardari on @BBCWorld. Hope is not a plan. Prepare for Ramazan. Pray at home, stay safe, keep others safe, he says pic.twitter.com/sYWLsSUT6q— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) April 23, 2020
In the Caucasus…
The WHO reports 485 cases in the country of Georgia and five deaths.
Protests among farmers are growing as frustration mounts over emergency restrictions:
I still err on the side of caution, and certainly think that complacency is always a problem, but more praise for Georgia, this time from @breannajwilson writing for @Forbes. #Tbilisi #Coronavirus. .— Onnik J. Krikorian (@onewmphoto) April 24, 2020
A COVID-19 Update From Tbilisi https://t.co/69XqZvubLq
In Armenia, the WHO reports 1746 cases and 28 deaths. A television tower in Tbilisi, Georgia was illuminated with the colors of the Armenian flag––a sign of solidarity for the neighboring nations.
Meanwhile, in the US the lockdown is pushing into the remaining days of April. People continue to find ways to support local businesses while adhering to social distancing orders. In the city of Concrete, Washington, a local movie theater organized a popup popcorn parade. Last Saturday night, cars wanting popcorn were instructed to stop in front of the theater, turn on headlights, honk, and request butter or no butter and number of tubs and toppings.