The Delhi government on Monday withdrew an order to shut down two markets in the national Capital, hours after it was issued, in view of the coronavirus pandemic, reported the Hindustan Times. The order, issued on Sunday evening, to shut the Punjabi Basti Market and Janta Market in West Delhi’s Nangloi area was an attempt to keep a check on the surge in cases in the city.

“The order for closure of market has been withdrawn because a proposal of Delhi government for regulation of markets in view of Covid-19 surge is pending with the central government,” PTI quoted an unnamed government official as saying. “The district officials can take action against individuals for violation but cannot seal an entire market.”

After the District Disaster Management Authority issued the order, shops were sealed in the two markets, according to PTI. Officials had earlier flagged that Covid-19 safety protocols like wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing were not being followed in the markets by vendors and shoppers, reported the Hindustan Times.

However, shop owners in the West Delhi markets expressed relief on the withdrawal of the order. “It was wrong to seal the market,” Subhash Bindal, General Secretary of Shukar Bazar Market Association in Nangloi market told ANI. “All norms were being followed here. They had sealed it on the basis of a crowd on the main road near the market.” Bindal said that the official copy of the withdrawn order was still awaited.

On Friday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a virtual meeting with market representatives, had said that the government did not want to shut down any markets and urged associations to distribute masks, reported NDTV. However last week, the Kejriwal government had sought permission from the Union government to shut some markets, which could be potential hotspots.

Meanwhile, Delhi reported 6,746 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, taking the total number of cases in the Capital to 5,29,863. The Supreme Court on Monday sought status reports on the pandemic situation from four states, including Delhi.

India’s coronavirus tally rose to 91,39,865 on Monday morning as it reported 44,059 new cases in 24 hours. The toll rose by 511 to 1,33,738. As many as 85,62,641 people have recovered so far.

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