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India extends lockdown after nearly 5,000 cases in a day

This article is more than 12 months old

NEW DELHI: India extended its lockdown to the end of the month yesterday as it reported its biggest single-day jump in cases, but said some sectors would be permitted to open up as its economy takes a hit.

The lockdown affecting 1.3 billion people has been in force since late March and has been devastating for India's poor, with millions of migrant workers losing their jobs.

"Lockdown measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 will continue for a period of up to (May 31)," the Home Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Schools, places of worship, shopping malls, cinemas and gyms must remain closed, the ministry said, adding that bans on large gatherings for religious and sporting events would also be extended.

City metro train services and domestic and international air travel will remain suspended, it said.

Restaurants will now be allowed to operate their kitchens for takeaway services while sports complexes and stadiums are permitted to host events without spectators.

There were some nationwide relaxations for industry and agriculture last month, while offices this week were allowed to operate with one-third capacity.

The National Disaster Management Authority said the restrictions would be updated "as necessary, keeping in view the need to open up economic activities" in Asia's third biggest economy while containing the virus.

Further state-based details are expected to be finalised later.

JUMP IN CASES

The lockdown extension comes as India recorded its biggest single-day jump in virus cases with 4,987 new infections. It took the total number of cases to 90,927 with 2,872 deaths.

India has now reported more cases than China, where the virus first emerged late last year, although its number of deaths so far, at 2,872, is lower than China's 4,600.

The death toll in the US and some European countries is even higher, at tens of thousands.

India's current lockdown, introduced on March 25 and extended several times, had been due to expire at midnight. - AFP, REUTERS

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