India Inc calls for lockdown to save lives

| | New Delhi
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India Inc calls for lockdown to save lives

Tuesday, 04 May 2021 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi

A day after the Supreme Court advised the Central and State Governments to consider a lockdown to break the chain of Covid-19 transmission, prominent industrialist and trader bodies have called for a nationwide shutdown.

Prominent industrialist and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) president Uday Kotak called for the curtailment of economic activity “to reduce suffering” due to the deadly second wave of Covid-19 cases in India.

 “At this critical juncture when the toll of lives is rising, the CII urges the strongest national steps, including curtailing economic activity, to reduce suffering,” Uday Kotak said in a tweet.

Kotak has asked for the highest-level response measures to address the rising wave of Covid-19 cases, as currently safeguarding lives is key to cut the transmission links.

“The healthcare infrastructure and supply build-up are being undertaken on an emergency basis by the Governments at the Centre and States, but will take time,” he said.

Earlier, several experts as well as leading economists suggested the Government a nationwide lockdown is the only solution to break the chain of Covid infections. From US epidemiologist Anthony Fauci to AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, all have suggested a complete lockdown.

An online survey conducted by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) showed that at least 67.5 per cent participants are in favour of nationwide lockdown while 78.2 per cent people have said they agreed that corona has become uncontrollable.

CAIT national president and secretary general Praveen Khandelwal on Monday urged the Prime Minister to immediately impose a nationwide lockdown in order to break the chain of infections during the second Covid-19 wave.

CAIT said in the event of a national lockdown, the trading community across the country will ensure the supply of essential items like last year. Over 9,000 respondents participated in the online survey.

Amid an exponential rise in coronavirus cases, the SC on Sunday urged the Centre and States “to consider imposing a lockdown to break the chain in the interest of public welfare”.

It also directed the Central Government to revisit its initiatives and protocols, including the availability of oxygen, availability and pricing of vaccines, and availability of essential drugs at affordable prices.

Unable to cope with deteriorating Covid cases, States are seeking the Army’s help to manage things. Armed forces’ Medical Corps has set up hospitals in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Varanasi and Lucknow.

According to reports, some members of the Covid-19 task force, a technical expert body that advises the Central Government, are pushing hard for a national lockdown.

The experts argue that lockdown is a must because the way in which the Covid-19 pandemic is spreading, threatens to overwhelm the already creaking health infrastructure. The task force includes experts from AIIMS and ICMR.

Modi had imposed a strict lockdown last year, but has been reluctant this year due to concerns about the economic impact. Last month, Modi said lockdown should be the “last resort” to deal with the raging pandemic and asked States to convince migrant workers to stay put at their places of work with a guarantee for their lives and livelihood.

However, at least 11 States and Union Territories have imposed some form of restrictions due to the spiralling cases. The country is reporting around 4 lakh new infections a day and over 3,000 deaths.

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