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India begins to open up cautiously as virus cases drop


Businesses in India’s two largest cities are reopening as part of phased lockdown measures in several states, with the number of new coronavirus infections in the country continuing to decline.

Businesses in two of India’s biggest cities were reopening on Monday as several states began a phased easing of lockdown measures, with the number of new coronavirus infections in the country continuing to decline.

India’s capital allowed businesses and shops to reopen with limited hours and the Delhi Metro, which serves New Delhi and surrounding areas, also resumed operations at 50% capacity. Last week, authorities in the capital allowed some manufacturing and construction activities to resume.

“Now the corona situation is under control. The economy should be brought back on track,” New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told reporters on Sunday.

Some health experts fear restrictions are being eased too soon and there are concerns that the virus is still spreading uncontrollably in villages in India where testing and medical care are limited.

Kejriwal warned that any new surge in infections could be more severe and said the administration would build new oxygen-producing facilities and expand the capacity of intensive care units.

In the coastal state of Maharashtra, home to the financial hub of Mumbai, and one of the worst-hit states, malls, movie theatres, restaurants and offices reopened in districts where the positivity rate has fallen below 5%. However, the state’s vast rail network will remain closed to the public.

Other Indian cities also gradually started lifting lockdown rules.

After recording a peak of more than 400,000 new cases in a single day in May, new infections and deaths have declined and the government expects the reopening to prop up the economy, growing at just 1.6% annualized in the January-March quarter. can be revived.

On Monday, new infections fell to their lowest level in two months.

The 100,636 cases added in the last 24 hours took India’s total cases to nearly 29 million, second only to the United States. The health ministry said that 2,427 more people died in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 349,186. Admittedly, both figures are huge undercounts.

Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to speed up vaccination. India has so far administered just over 222 million jabs and less than 5% of the country has been fully vaccinated.

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