Lisbon, Jan 14 (IANS) Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has announced a new nationwide lockdown as a measure to stem the exponential growth in new Covid-19 cases.
With the start of the new "state of emergency" starting on Friday, Costa noted that "the rule is to stay in a home-based retreat", as it happened in March and April 2020 early in the pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.
"The only relevant new exception" is that schools will remain "in full working order," Costa announced in an official statement.
Only trips to purchase essential goods and services, professional activities that cannot be performed at a distance and brief physical activities, as well as assistance to family members will be allowed.
Costa pledged that the government will provide financial assistance to companies and their employees for closing their activities during the state of emergency, which lasts 15 days and should be renewed for the same period.
Restaurants and the like may operate exclusively for home delivery or take-away, while fairs, food markets and supermarkets are allowed to operate without time restrictions.
This is the ninth state of emergency decree since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is the highest civil protection classification in Portugal, allowing the suspension of rights, freedoms and guarantees.
Portugal reported 10,556 new cases in the last 24 hours, the highest daily figure since the beginning of the pandemic, bringing the total to 507,108.
An additional 156 deaths were also reported, taking the toll to 8,326.
According the health authorities, more than 75,000 people have been vaccinated since the start of the vaccination campaign on December 27, 2020.
New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has announced that it will launch a nationwide movement against the present Goods and Services Tax (GST) system which it claims has become "extremely complicated" because of several "arbitrary" amendments.
According to CAIT, the GST has become a hurdle in the smooth retail trade because of the complexities and arbitrariness of its provisions.
In a statement on Sunday, the traders' body said that it will convene a three-day conference of trade leaders of all states from February 8-10 at Nagpur to chalk out the future course of action. About 200 prominent trade leaders from across the country are likely to participate.
"Post-Covid, the retail trade is fighting hard for its survival and in such a situation, the GST system has become a devil for the business community due to several arbitrary amendments. In such a scenario, we have decided to oppose such amendments tooth and nail," the CAIT said in a statement.
CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that implementation of various programmes of the central Government have become a cause of severe pain for the traders, of which GST is one of the causes.
The present GST violates its basic fundamentals which were announced at the time of its implementation in 2017, he said.
"In place of 'Good and Simple Tax', it has become an obnoxious and complicated taxation system," he said.
Khandelwal added that the CAIT conference will also discuss e-commerce and the proposed e-commerce policy, empowering women entrepreneurs, appraisal of Mudra Scheme, easy availability of finance for traders, among others.
He was of the view that the retail trade stands neglected, although it generates an annual business turnover of Rs 80 lakh crore. As many as 8 crore traders in the country employ around 40 crore persons.