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Calls for nationwide lockdown intensify as Covid-19 cases rise

CAIT National President and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately impose a nationwide lockdown in order to break the chain of infections during the second Covid-19 wave.

UPDATED: May 3, 2021 19:51 IST

At least 67 per cent of individuals who participated in an online survey conducted by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) called for a nationwide lockdown in view of the worsening Covid-19 situation in the country.

CAIT National President and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately impose a nationwide lockdown in order to break the chain of infections during the second Covid-19 wave.

In a situation where a nationwide lockdown is not possible, CAIT has asked the Centre to impose a complete lockdown in states where Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly. CAIT has informed that in the event of a national lockdown, the trading community across the country will ensure the supply of essential items like last year.

Khandelwal said that over 9,000 people across the country participated in the survey, and 78.2 per cent of the people agreed that the second Covid-19 wave has become uncontrollable. At least 67.5 per cent of the people advocated for a nationwide lockdown, he added.

Read | Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra showing signs of plateauing in daily Covid-19 cases: Health ministry

The Covid-19 situation in the country continues to be grim even as elaborate measures are being taken to control the rising number of cases. On Monday, India reported a slight dip in daily cases, but the figure remains above 3.6 lakh. Over 3,400 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours as well.

Members of CAIT said that traders across the country will suffer the most in the event of a nationwide lockdown, but added that it is the need of the hour to control the rapidly spreading virus.

In case there is a nationwide lockdown, the traders’ body urged the government to suspend applicable GST liability and other taxes for a temporary period. It also added that banks should be directed to postpone the recovery of equated monthly instalments (EMIs) and other financial liabilities of traders.

CAIT’s request to the Centre comes a day after the Supreme Court advised the central and state governments to consider a lockdown to break the chain of Covid transmission.

“In light of the continuing surge of infections in the second wave of the pandemic, we direct the Central Government and State Governments to put on record the efforts taken to curb the spread of the virus and the measures that they plan on taking in the near future,” said the Supreme Court.

“At the same time, we would seriously urge the Central and State Governments to consider imposing a ban on mass gatherings and superspreader events. They may also consider imposing a lockdown to curb the virus in the second wave in the interest of public welfare,” the court’s order added.

Top US epidemiologist Anthony Fauci had earlier suggested a lockdown for a few weeks in India as an immediate step to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

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