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COVID-19: India eases some restrictions

Aditya Sharma
April 20, 2020

Indian states are set to resume limited commercial activities as the government relaxes some coronavirus restrictions. The nationwide lockdown, however, will continue until May 3.

The daughter of a migrant worker sleeps on a highway as they failed to get a bus to return to their village, during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi
Image: Reuters/A. Abidi

In a new order, the Indian government said Sunday it was allowing some public sectors to operate despite a nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

Health services, agricultural activities, financial services and public utilities are now exempted from restrictions.

The government however urged these sectors to follow the safety measures, including social distancing and limited physical contact.

Read more: Under coronavirus lockdown, Delhi slum residents struggle to get water

The easing of restrictions will not be applicable to COVID-19 hotspots, the government said.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government issued fresh guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Relief for laborers

The easing of restrictions is good new for tens of thousands of daily-wage workers in big cities like New Delhi and Mumbai.

While the new guidelines continue to restrict inter-state travel for migrant workers, those who want to work within state can do so after getting tested for COVID-19.

Read more: Coronavirus lockdown in India: Crowd of migrant workers chased out of Mumbai station

"Those [workers] who are asymptomatic would be transported to their respective places of work," the order said.

All migrant workers living in shelters and relief camps must register with local authorities for jobs, it added.

India has reported over 16,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 521 related deaths.

The South Asian country is facing an acute economic crisis due to the 21-day lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Modi in late March.

COVID-19 lockdown exposes social disparities in India

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