New Delhi: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has urged the Centre to extend the lockdown period to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Accordingly, CAIT said that it made this recommendation based on a survey conducted with senior trade leaders of all states. The suggestion for extension was made by CAIT in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“On the basis of a survey conducted with senior trade leaders of all States, CAIT has urged the government to extend the lockdown period in the wake of rapidly growing threat from the coronavirus,” according to a press release issued by CAIT on Wednesday.

The body said that traders are ready to extend their best services to the nation even though they will face several trading, economic and financial challenges. It said the traders were ready for an extension in interest of the nation.

"Although the traders will be facing several trading, economic and financial challenges, yet in the interest of the Country, the traders are well prepared to extend best services to the nation," the confederation said in a statement.

"However, whatever decision the Government will take, the trading community across the country will follow the same in letter and spirit," it said further.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CAIT's national general secretary Praveen Khandelwal said the confederation has undertaken a survey with prominent trade leaders of all states of the country and have come to the conclusion that during these troubled times, "it would be in fitness of things, if the current lockdown period is extended up to April 30, 2020, so to negate any prospect of further spreading of COVID-19".

Furthermore, the letter said, "In view of the burgeoning number of cases of Covid-19 in India over the last one week and to add impetus to the Government's overall effort to combat the disease and prevent community spread, the business community stands with you in solidarity and whatever the decision, the Government takes, the trading community will abide by such decision and follow the same in its true letter and spirit.”

In India, the current lockdown will last till midnight April 14. The lockdown has dealt a heavy blow to commerce. This has led to temporary closure of shopping malls, dine-in restaurants, grounding of aircraft, shutting down of factories and deserted market places.