Delhi, Mumbai, TN begin reopening from COVID-19 lockdown. What changes?
After seeing the world's worst coronavirus outbreak, India's COVID-19 situation is finally improving. The country reported just above one lakh new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours - the lowest daily surge in 61 days. Now, several states have begun the process of gradually easing their coronavirus-induced lockdowns. So, what changes where? Let's take a look.
Some significant relaxations have come into effect in the national capital today. Shops in malls, markets, market complexes, standalone shops, and neighborhood shops have been allowed to open during specified timings on an odd-even basis. Further, the Delhi Metro - the city's major public transportation mode - which remained suspended for nearly one month, has been allowed to function with 50% capacity.
Restaurants, shops selling non-essential items, and public spaces reopened in Mumbai today. However, malls, theaters, and multiplexes will continue to stay shut while local trains can ferry only essential workers for the time being. Buses can run with full capacity, but passengers cannot travel standing. The Maharashtra government has announced a five-level reopening plan while state capital Mumbai falls under the Level-3.
In Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, the coronavirus-induced curfew has been lifted in four more districts - Varanasi, Muzaffarnagar, Gautam Buddh Nagar, and Ghaziabad. The decision was taken after active COVID-19 cases in all these districts fell below 600. Shops and markets outside containment zones in these districts will now open five days a week from 7 am to 7 pm starting today.
Tamil Nadu, which is still reporting a high number of daily COVID-19 cases, has extended its lockdown for another week. Standalone grocery stores have been allowed to function from 6 am to 5 pm in all parts of the state except 11 hotspot districts, from today. Autos with two passengers and cabs with three are also allowed to run with an e-pass.
The lockdown in Haryana has been extended until June 14. However, there will be a number of relaxations. For instance, corporate offices have been allowed to function with 50% staff. Malls can open from 10 am to 8 pm and restaurants and bars can operate with 50% capacity during the same period. Twenty-one people can gather in religious places at a time.
Sikkim has extended its COVID-19 lockdown until June 14, but it relaxed the timings for grocery stores and vegetable shops by two more hours. The Karnataka government has also extended the state-wide lockdown by another week, until June 14. Himachal Pradesh, too, extended its coronavirus-induced curfew until June 14. Meanwhile, the Kerala government has tightened some restrictions to bring down COVID-19 cases.