India will allow more domestic flights and interstate train services to operate but keep schools shut as the nation further eases its lockdown despite growing concern about rising coronavirus cases.
The country has recorded almost 550,000 virus infections, including 16,475 deaths, making it the fourth worst-hit in terms of case numbers after the US, Brazil and Russia.
But with the economy struggling during the shutdown, authorities have sought to restart activities while maintaining “containment zones” to try and limit the virus spread.
“Domestic flights and passenger trains have already been allowed in a limited manner. Their operations will be further expanded in a calibrated manner,” the Home Mnistry said late Monday in its “Unlock 2” guidelines.
The new measures - which also include a shorter night curfew - will come into force today and remain in place until the end of July.
The night curfew would be further relaxed to permit the movement of people and goods for work or when they take public transport, the ministry said.
Schools, metro trains in cities, cinemas, gyms and swimming pools would remain closed, while activities in “containment zones” would still be severely restricted, it added.
Under a major easing of the lockdown in early June, places of religious worship, hotels, restaurants and shopping malls were allowed to reopen.
The virus has particularly hit India’s densely populated cities and there are now major concerns for New Delhi which has overtaken Mumbai with more than 85,000 cases.
The government has been criticised over a lack of testing that experts say has hidden the true number of cases in India.
lKarnataka’s Ballari district administration has fired a health department field team for inhumanly handling and ruthlessly dumping the bodies of eight Covid-19 patients in a pit, an official said yesterday.
“The entire field team involved has been disbanded and will be replaced by a new team,” Ballari Deputy Commissioner S S Nakul said.
In a video which has gone viral, more than five men were seen mercilessly dumping large black bags containing the bodies in a freshly dug pit.
No relatives of the dead or any final rites were conducted at the deserted pit.
Wearing full body suits in white and blue, the field team took out one body after another from a vehicle and threw them into the pit.
Another unidentified man, wearing a mask, gloves, white and blue half-sleeved t-shirt, dark trousers and wielding a mobile phone was also seen going to the other side of the pit as the dumping happened.
In the video, three bodies could be counted being dumped into the pit and a JCB excavator was also spotted nearby, which may have been used to dig the pit.
“A few videos have been circulating on social media since this morning, showing footage of burial procedures. It was found that the videos did belong to Ballari and comprised the burial of eight people who passed away after succumbing to Covid,” Nakul said.
The official said the district administration has been deeply upset and sorrowful over the incident and the manner in which the bodies were handled.
“The district administration condemns the disrespectful handling of the bodies,” he said.
On Monday, Ballari witnessed the highest number of Covid deaths in Karnataka at six, taking the overall death toll to 29.
In the past 24 hours, 61 people have tested positive for the virus in the district.
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