The Agricultural Producers Market Committee, or APMC, wholesale market in Navi Mumbai’s Vashi will remain shut from May 11 to May 17, in view of the rising number of coronavirus cases in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, The Times of India reported on Friday. A review of the situation will be held on May 15 to decide if the market can be reopened after May 17.

The APMC market includes markets for grains, spices, vegetables, fruits, and onions and potatoes. The decision to shut all five markets was taken after traders, brokers, transporters and workers expressed unwillingness to work, fearing a risk of infection, as there has been a major increase in Covid-19 cases from the APMC market yard over the last few days.

“During the shutdown, we will conduct sanitisation and disinfection of the whole market premises, before the review date,” APMC Deputy Secretary Krishnakant Pawar said. “Presently, most of the traders are sending essentials directly to Mumbai and the rest should follow suit.”

Navi Mumbai Commissioner Annasaheb Misal told Mumbai Mirror that the market department of APMC will ensure that there is no shortage of supplies to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. He added that over 4,000 APMC workers have been screened for the infection while the screening of traders has begun.

On Thursday, Navi Mumbai Mayor Jaywant Sutar had urged the Maharashtra government to close the APMC market. He had expressed the fear that otherwise, the market may turn into a coronavirus hotspot. The market had been shut for two days in April after a trader in the spices market tested positive.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region is the worst-affected region in the country, with over 10,000 reported cases. A nationwide lockdown is in place till May 17 to combat the spread of Covid-19.

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