Six-day lockdown in Delhi to help contain spread of coronavirus, say industry, traders

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New Delhi, Apr 19 (PTI) The imposition of lockdown in Delhi till April 26 was a 'much needed step' that would help in controlling the rising coronavirus cases in the national capital, according to industry chambers and domestic traders.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a six-day lockdown from 10 pm on Monday till 5 am on April 26 which he said was necessary to deal with the rising number of COVID-19 cases as the city's health system was stretched to its limits.

Industry body Assocham said that private industries are coming forward in assisting the government to help in the vaccination drive and these steps will help in containing the virus and help the economy to recover.

'The Delhi government's move to further extend the imposition of restrictions for another six days will help in containing the spread of the virus in the national capital,' the chamber said in a statement.

PHDCCI said that they are appreciative of the statement by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that the government is not going to impose any national lockdown, which may harm the economy.

It said that the nation needs to focus on setting up mini containment zones in areas suffering high infection rates with effective medical focus rather than implementing a nationalwide lockdown.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said the lockdown imposed by the Delhi government is a welcome and much needed step to break the chain of corona pandemic.

It also said that traders will not lag behind in maintaining supply of essential commodities while observing safety protocols and abiding by the guidelines of the government.

He suggested the Delhi government to nominate five nodal officers dividing the state into five zones - Central, East, West, North and South Delhi - to collaborate with CAIT team leaders for smoothing the passage of supply of essential goods to Delhi people.

'As per an estimate during the curfew, each day there will be a business loss of about Rs 600 crore in Delhi. It is also estimated that taking stock of situations of several states which have either full lockdown, partial lockdown, night curfew or other restrictions, it is further estimated that such a situation is causing a business loss of about Rs 10,000 crore each day,' it said.

Nearly 100 prominent markets of Delhi including Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, Karol Bagh, Cycle Market, and Mori Gate have begun their self-imposed lockdown from Monday, it added.

India SME Forum President Vinod Kumar said that the state government needs to at least allow the ecommerce industry to cater to the people with all products and not only essentials.

'That is the only way to safeguard the interests of micro and small sellers as well as consumers. The disruption of the ecommerce supply chain will have a negative cascade effect on the entire supply chain,' Kumar added. However, K Narasimhan, Advocate, Madras High Court, said that Delhi's lockdown guidelines will once again put the state and its people to its knees.

The government has clearly missed the trick to safety by not allowing passage of non-essential goods and more importantly, not allowing commerce to deliver beyond essentials and these two clauses may negate the benefits of lockdown guidelines in Delhi, he said.

Sonam Chandwani, Managing Partner at KS Legal & Associates, said that with 'each person bearing the possibility of becoming a ticking COVID-19 bomb, serious restrictions have been imposed on the movement of flights, rail, intercity bus services besides industrial activity halt in the nation's capital region'.

While redemption of businesses from losses incurred on the pretext of the pandemic appeared gruelling at the outset, the second wave followed by a strict lockdown has further exacerbated the finances of Indians in the area, Chandwani added.

Delhi on Sunday recorded the biggest jump in its daily COVID-19 tally with 25,462 fresh cases, while the positivity rate shot up to 29.74 per cent -- meaning almost every third sample being tested in the city is turning out to be positive. PTI RR MKJ