Complete lockdown in Chennai, parts of three districts from June 19; India’s exports down 36.5% in May

Complete lockdown in Chennai, parts of three districts from June 19; India’s exports down 36.5% in May

Unable to check the spiraling Covid-19 figures, the Tamil Nadu government today announced ‘maximised restricted lockdown’ from 19 to 30 June in Chennai and areas in Thiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu districts. This also includes full scale shutdown on the two Sundays in this period, the state government added.

The announcement came after a cabinet meeting, which included Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and health experts.

Following Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu has the second highest number of cases and the spike has continued despite several curbs by the state government.

On Sunday, Tamil Nadu registered over 1,900 more Covid-19 cases in a single day for the third straight day. With over 1,974 patients reporting positive for coronavirus in 24 hours, Tamil Nadu’s Covid-19 count reached 44,661, according to the state’s health department.

Hospitals, diagnostic labs, pharmacies, ambulance and hearse vans to will be allowed to operate but movement of taxis, auto rickshaws, and other private vehicles will be prohibited except for medical emergencies, stated the government.

Banks will be allowed to function with 33 per cent staff only on June 29 and 30, while ATMs will function normally.

Shops for essential items including those selling milk, vegetables and fruits, mobile outlets, groceries will be open. Petrol pumps will open between 6 am and 4 pm, while takeaways from restaurants will be allowed between 6 am and 8 pm.

All Public Distribution System (PDS) shops except for those inside containment zones will continue to function from 8 am to 2 pm, the government added.

Quarantine measures for incoming passengers from other states or abroad will remain the same movement of cargo will be uninterrupted, the government has said.

India’s exports, imports decline in May

India’s trade basket declined in May though at a slower pace than April as nations sealed their borders to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Merchandise exports fell 36.5 per cent and imports plunged 51 per cent resulting in a trade deficit of just $3.1 billion, data released by the commerce ministry on Monday showed.

In April, merchandise exports and imports had declined by 60.3 per cent and 58.7 per cent, respectively.

Among major items, only export of rice, spices, iron ore, drugs and pharmaceuticals registered positive growth last month. Among major imports, iron pyrites, project goods recorded growth during the same month.

A two-month-long nationwide lockdown has hit the country’s trade, which had been on a declining trend due to a slowing economy.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has forecast global merchandise trade to fall between 13 per cent and 32 per cent in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Punjab seeks aids from Centre

In wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent distress caused to the state, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, on Monday, sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking Rs 80,845 crore aid. To save lives and secure livelihoods, he also asked for non-fiscal assistance, such as waiver of long-term CCL debt, upward revision of capital outlay and targets under MGNREGA, and other major flagship programmes of the Centre, such as Smart City Programme, AMRUT, new National Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme, and revamp of the Inter-state Migrant Workers Act.