India extends Covid-19 lockdown until May 31

New Delhi, May 17 (efe-epa).- India on Sunday extended the weeks-long nationwide coronavirus lockdown until 31 May as the number of infected people exceeded 91,000.

The government said the strict lockdown measures in place since 25 Mar have helped “considerably in containing the spread” of Covid-19 in the world’s second-most populous country.

“It has therefore been decided to further extend the lockdown until May 31,” the union home ministry said in a statement.

Despite relaxing some measures, the statement said some activities would remain banned throughout the country regardless of the areas mapped into red, orange, and green zones based on the number of active Covid-19 cases.

“A limited number of activities will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country,” the statement said.

These include domestic and international air travel, metro rail services, running of educational institutions, hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality services.

Venues for large public gatherings such as cinemas, shopping malls, gymnasiums, and entertainment parks will remain closed.

The government said that it would allow all shops, except those in containment zones and malls, to open from Monday but with staggered timings during the fourth phase of the lockdown.

The ban on social, political, cultural, and similar gatherings and other congregations, including at religious temples and places of worship will remain in place.

The government also allowed inter-state movement of vehicles and buses “with mutual consent of the concerned” regional administrations.

“Night curfew shall continue to remain in force on the movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, between 7 pm and 7 am,” it said.

India has registered more Covid-19 cases than China, where the virus originated.

According to health authorities, the virus has infected nearly 91,500 people and claimed the lives of some 2,900 people.

The death toll remains lower than China where the disease has claimed 4,600 lives.

The government announced the extension of the lockdown hours before its third phase was due to expire at midnight on Sunday.

Restrictions to stem the outbreak of the disease have devastated India’s economy and sparked a crisis among the tens of millions of migrant labourers who depend on daily wages to survive.

Although economic activity has picked up marginally after the government eased some restrictions in low-risk areas from 4 May, millions of small businesses and industries continue shut, triggering a massive reverse migration of millions of workers to their hometowns.

At least 25 migrants who had set out on a journey to reach their homes were killed on Saturday when two trucks in which they were travelling collided in northern India. EFE-EPA


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