Delhi: Wary of impact on business, traders appeal to govt as Covid cases rise

NEW DELHI : The Covid-19 cases have been on the rise in the national capital Delhi. The city reported 2,031 new cases with a positivity rate of 12.34% on Saturday, adding to the 11th consecutive day of reporting cases beyond the 2000 mark. The Delhi authorities have reinstated the mask mandate in the city after it was confirmed that a more infectious Omicron sub-variant- BA 2.75 has become dominant in the national capital.

The traders in the city have once again flagged the economic impact of the rising Covid cases and have asked authorities to be considerate of the losses they incurred due to the lockdowns in the last two years.

The traders are afraid that any further increase in coronavirus cases would lead to the authorities to impose restrictions. This is why traders have urged the city government to take steps carefully so that businesses don’t suffer.

“The impact of rising cases will be visible after the festivals. There is uncertainty in the market and the traders are not taking large orders. We are tired of Covid waves. Every time we think things are getting back to normal, something or the other happens,” said Paramjit Singh Pamma the chairman of the Federation of Sadar Bazar Trade Association.

Traders at Sarojini Nagar market said that even a not-so-stringent restriction reduces sales by 50 per cent.

“The impact of rising cases has started to manifest. Wholesalers have started asking for payments upfront because they are worried that if a lockdown is imposed then their payments might get stuck.

“We have started taking precautions, asking traders to be careful and exercise utmost caution like wearing masks and sanitizing,” said Ashok Randhawa, the president of Sarojini Nagar Mini Market.

Similar concerns were expressed by traders at Gandhi Nagar market, the largest textile market in Asia.

“Whenever Covid cases surge the fear of the last two lockdowns comes back to haunt us. Inflation has also impacted our businesses. We are still recovering from the losses and cannot handle another lockdown,” said KK Balli, the president of the Association of Wholesale Readymade Garment Dealers (Gandhi Nagar).

Balli urged the government not to take any decision in haste and consult the stakeholders first. “If any action is being planned, the government should first consult us because we are the ones who suffer the most,” he added.

Amid the rise in cases over the last week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said there was no need to panic as most of the new cases were mild.

Despite the rise in the positivity rate, the city government has not implemented the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) devised by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority since the hospital admissions are low.

The GRAP stipulates measures to be taken by the government in accordance with the Covid test positivity rate and bed occupancy for locking and unlocking various activities.

An official said, “The government has asked all district magistrates to strictly enforce the mask mandate and all the teams have been activated on the ground to ensure there is no laxity.

“The government is closely monitoring the situation… The cases may have seen a rise but they are mild and there is no need to panic. Hospitals have been issued necessary directions,” the official added.

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