India has started closing all business establishments including shops and malls in the wake of the rapidly growing threat of Coronavirus cases in the country. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the closing down of all malls except grocery, pharmacy and vegetable shops in light of the prevailing situation.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which represents the country's business community and is comprised of seventy million traders, has also decided to close business establishments in Delhi for the next three days beginning Saturday to prevent community transmission of Coronavirus.
“The markets in Delhi will remain closed on 21, 22 and 23 March. The CAIT has exempted chemist shops, dairy and general consumables from the shutdown for the convenience of citizens,” said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of CAIT, while adding that the body will decide its future actions on 23 March.
Maharashtra, the country’s wealthiest state and the one with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, will also close all shops and offices in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur for the next 12 days.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also ordered the shutting down of all shopping complexes in the state with immediate effect.
"All malls in the state should be closed till further orders. Lucknow, Noida and Kanpur cities should be sanitised," the chief minister said in a statement. The state has already announced the closure of all bars, cafes/lounges, hair salons, beauty parlours and eating joints.
The partial lockdown has been implemented by the country’s major cities and states after the health ministry confirmed a sharp rise (to 223 from 171 on Thursday) in coronavirus cases on Friday.
The country also recorded its fifth death due to the novel coronavirus after an Italian citizen passed away in Jaipur. The Indian government has banned public gatherings and stopped international flights from Sunday.