India reopens major cities as new COVID-19 infections hit 2-month low

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India’s capital New Delhi and financial hub Mumbai began a gradual easing of restrictions on Monday (Jun 7) as coronavirus infections in the country fell to a two-month low.

India on Monday reported 100,636 new infections – after several days of 400,000-plus cases in May – and 2,427 deaths.

Hospitals in the megacities, which have a combined population of about 40 million, were overwhelmed by a deadly COVID-19 wave in April and May, with severe shortages of oxygen and other critical medicines.

The huge spike saw India report record-breaking numbers of cases and deaths to become the second worst-hit nation after the United States, with just under 29 million infections.

Authorities in Delhi and Mumbai, as well as other cities and states, imposed restrictions on movement and activities to combat the surge. “We have to stay safe from corona infection and also bring the economy back on track,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on Monday as some shops and malls reopened.

He ordered half of the capital’s shops to open on odd and even numbered days of the month respectively, in a bid to limit crowds, but allowed offices and the Delhi underground rail network to run at 50 per cent of capacity.

But some curbs were retained, such as the ban on dining in at restaurants and the use of theatres and gyms in a city still slowly recovering from a surge in the months of April and May that overwhelmed hospitals.

 

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