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Health

India coronavirus cases cross 3 million mark as economy opens up

FILE PHOTO: A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) takes a swab from a police officer for a rapid antigen test at a special testing center for Gujarat Police, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ahmedabad, India, August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Amit Dave

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The number of coronavirus infections in India crossed the 3 million mark with 69,239 new cases reported on Sunday even as the country opened up various sectors from a lockdown that ground businesses to a halt and hurt economic growth.

With the fifth straight day of more than 60,000 new cases, India’s tally stands at 3.04 million, federal health ministry data showed, behind only the United States and Brazil. Deaths in India from COVID-19 rose by 912 to 56,706.

India on Sunday issued guidelines to open up its media production industry with norms for social distancing, crowd management and sanitisation.

“The general principles behind the SOP will help create a safe working environment for cast and crew in the industry,” Prakash Javadekar, India’s union minister for information and broadcasting said in a tweet.

Top producers, distributors and actors from Bollywood, the movie industry in India’s financial capital of Mumbai, had said in May it would take at least two years for them to recover financially from the pandemic, putting at risk tens of thousands of jobs.

Film production and theatres had been shut nationwide after Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a more than two month long lockdown in March to curb spread of the virus.

While India has been slowly opening up some industries with specific regulations, containment zones - areas identified as most affected by the virus - still remain under lockdown.

Reporting by Abhirup Roy; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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