New Delhi, Jun 8 (efe-epa).- India formally began the first phase of relaxing its measures against Covid-19 on Monday, despite a steady increase in the number of cases after more than two months under stringent lockdown.
Under the current relaxation, places of worship, malls and restaurants will now be permitted to reopen in most parts of the country.
Malls and restaurants may operate at 50 percent of their capacity, while maintaining other precautions against the novel coronavirus.
People visiting places of worship will not be allowed to touch the idols or sacred books, or share food within the premises.
The Indian capital of New Delhi witnessed early Monday busy roads compared to the previous two months, due to a revival of commercial activity and reopening of shops and offices.
“All have to follow health protocol & guidelines. Masks & social distancing is a must,” Chief Minister of the western state of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot tweeted regarding the “phase of easing of restrictions.”
The reopening comes as India seeks to revive its economy, severely hit by the lockdown, even though the country continues to record an increasing number of fresh cases and deaths everyday.
On Sunday, 9,983 new cases were reported, the highest spike in a day since the start of the epidemic in this country of 1.3 billion people, taking the total number of infections to 256,611, with 7,200 deaths.
India is now fifth in the list of countries with the highest number of coronavirus cases, behind the United States, Brazil, Russia and the United Kingdom, according to World Health Organization data.
However, India’s mortality rate from Covid-19 is much lower compared to other nations with a high number of cases.
The latest easing of lockdown measures come after the government last week allowed the free movement of people and goods, and the reopening of some shops.
Moreover, the curfew duration was relaxed from between 7pm and 7am to between 9pm and 5am.
The second phase of the easing of restrictions, the date for which is still to be decided, will include reopening of educational institutions.
The third phase will result in resumption of international flights, metro services, re-opening of movie halls, gyms, cultural centers and sports stadiums. EFE-EPA