New Delhi, July 13 -- Tell Khalil Ahmed that you want to come and visit him in the walled city and he will tell you to make sure you wear a PPE kit. "I am not saying it for myself; that is perhaps the only way for you to be safe here," says Ahmed, who lives near Hauz Qazi, in old Delhi, which has always defied urban ideals of order.

Social distancing, he adds, is an oxymoron in old Delhi, which has a population of about 12 lakh crammed in an area of 6 square kilometres. "Besides, the walled city has some of the country's biggest wholesale bazars, attracting thousands of people from all parts of country. Call it a lack of choice or education, but most people here no longer care about corona."

World Health Organisation advises maintaining a...