Indian capital to ease lockdown as Covid-19 cases drop significantly

New Delhi, May 28 (EFE).- India’s capital region Friday said it would begin easing Covid-19 restrictions from next week after a significant decline in daily infections and fatalities.

The country, which battled a devastating second wave of the virus outbreak that crippled its healthcare system, added on Friday fewer than 200,000 Covid-19 cases for the second time in the week, marking the lowest daily tally of the infections in about 45 days.

New Delhi, which was among the worst-hit region due to the second wave of the outbreak, has shown significant improvement in its health situation for weeks now.

There had been fewer than 1,000 new cases, and the test positivity rate had fallen under 1.5 percent, compared to 35 percent, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

Some 117 people died due to the virus in the last 24 hours, compared to 400 in early May in the capital region that went into lockdown on Apr 20.

“It is time to slowly start unlocking, so that people do not die from hunger, even if they are saved from corona,” Kejriwal said in a video message.

“We have to strike a balance between covid control and allowing economic activities, as much as possible. The current lockdown will end on Monday. We are beginning the gradual unlock process.”

However, he requested people in Delhi to keep observing health precautions and not venture out of their homes unless necessary.

“It is a very sensitive time, we have to behave responsibly.”

The federal health ministry Friday said it recorded 186,364 new infections in the past 24 hours from Thursday, raising the overall caseload to 27.5 million, the highest after the United States (33.2 million).

However, the significant decline in the number of daily cases contrasts with new deaths each day that remain high.

Some 3,660 people succumbed to the disease over the past day, increasing the overall fatalities to 318,895 since the pandemic began.

The positivity rate in India has now fallen to a little less than 11 percent, which, a month ago, was nearly 21 percent.

It is still way above the threshold set by the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the pandemic under control.

The UN health agency considers the virus outbreak under control if the test positivity rate is below 5 percent.

Among the Indian regions that have not yet managed to bend the curve is Tamil Nadu.

The southern state recorded 33,361 cases and 474 deaths over the past day.

In the western state of Maharashtra, the worst hit by the devastating second wave, daily cases have dropped from almost 70,000 in April to about 21,200 in the last 24 hours.

The region, home to India’s financial capital of Mumbai, continues to record nearly 1,000 deaths a day.

The federal government extended till June 30 the suspension of scheduled international passenger flights.

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