India reopens cinemas and schools for first time since March

New Delhi, Oct 15 (efe-epa).- India authorized from Thursday the reopening of schools and cinemas for the first time since confinement against the coronavirus was imposed in March, while the country has already exceeded 7.3 million infections.

Its opening will only be partial, however, since part of the states of India have decided to keep these establishments closed.

In its directives for this fifth phase of the de-escalation published Sep. 30, the Indian Ministry of the Interior also authorized the opening of amusement parks as well as swimming pools, although only for athletes, starting today.

Cinemas will reopen their doors with a capacity limited to half in states such as Delhi (north), Madhya Pradesh (center) and Gujarat (west), among others.

According to PVR Cinemas, India’s largest film exhibition company, 10 states and four union territories have so far given the go-ahead for the reopening.

“I am sure spectators are looking forward to returning to the cinemas, although it will be a gradual return,” Indian producer Madhu Bhojwani from Emmay Entertainment told EFE.

But other states such as Maharashtra, home to the heart of Bollywood in Mumbai, have decided to keep theaters closed and the reopening is being held without big premieres that could attract Indian viewers.

“Every movie has its own formula for profit, and because of this we may initially only see small- or medium-size movies testing the waters,” Bhojwani said.

Concerning the opening of schools, those in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh reopened Thursday despite most Indian states deciding to keep them closed.

This reopening comes into force just as India begins a long festival season, which brings large crowds and a rebound in consumption, something key to the economy.

With phase five, India has lifted almost all its restrictions, maintaining rigorous measures only within the zones defined as contagion areas, in an attempt to jump-start the country’s economic activity.

Restrictions are also maintained on international flights, except for repatriation trips and routes through bubbles or air bridges.

According to the latest official data, the number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 7,3 million after a Thursday increase of 67,708, as deaths reached 111,266. EFE-EPA


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