India extends nationwide lockdown until end of May

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India extended its coronavirus lockdown to the end of May on Sunday as it reported its biggest single-day jump in cases, but said some sectors would be permitted to open up as its economy takes a hammering.

The lockdown affecting 1.3 billion people—the world’s largest—has been in force since late March and has been devastating for India’s poor, with millions of migrant workers losing their jobs.

“Lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 will continue for a period of up to (May 31),” the Home Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Schools, places of worship, shopping malls, cinemas and gyms must remain closed, the ministry said, adding bans on large gatherings for religious and sporting events would also be extended.

City metro train services and domestic and international air travel will also remain suspended, it said.

Restaurants will now be allowed to operate their kitchens for takeaway services while sports complexes and stadiums are permitted to host events, but without spectators.

The National Disaster Management Authority said the restrictions would be updated “as necessary, keeping in view the need to open up economic activities” in Asia’s third-biggest economy while containing the virus.

Further state-based details were expected to be finalised later Sunday.

The lockdown extension came as India recorded its biggest single-day jump in virus cases with 4,987 new infections in the last 24 hours.

It took the total number of cases to 90,927 with 2,872 deaths.

There were some nationwide relaxations for industry and agriculture last month, while offices this week were allowed to operate with one-third capacity.

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