The world's largest diamond cutting and polishing hub, Surat in Gujarat, will shut down for a week from Tuesday due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council and Surat Diamond Association said in a joint statement on Saturday.
Diamond cutting and polishing units in other parts of the state like Bhavnagar and Botad will also remain closed, Gujarat regional chairman of GJEPC Dinesh Navadiya said.
"The industry has already witnessed $846 million fall in exports in February 2020 compared to the same month last year, and the crisis is deepeningfurther and could get worse than what was witnessed during the 2008 financial recession," he said.
Navadiya said the export-oriented diamond industry was facing a massive crisis, with three countries accounting for 80 per cent of the exports, namely USA, Hong Kong, and China, being among the worst hit due to the outbreak.
"USA accounts for 39 per cent of exports, followed by Hong Kong at 37 per cent, and Chinaat 4 per cent. They are among the countries that are worst affected by coronavirus. We are facing a situation that can get worse than what we witnessed during the 2008 recession," Navadiya said.
In another development related to coronavirus, Surat Municipal Corporation on Saturday launched an online voluntary self-reporting for citizens with history of visits abroad or other states within the country, and said non-registration will invite a penalty of up to Rs 25,000.
"SMC starts voluntary self reporting of corona affected Citizens, if someone has come from other countries or other domestic localities with suspected cases. Non Registration invites penalty up to 25000/-," Municipal Commissioner Banchha Nidhi Pani tweeted.
People who have recently returned to Surat from visits abroador other states within the country will have to provide travel details, as well as health information like whether they are suffering from fever, cough, or having difficulty breathing, etc.
The online form link is available on the Surat Municipal Corporation website.