NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India said on Wednesday it would allow metro services to reopen nationwide, despite the number of novel coronavirus infections there reaching almost 3.8 million.
The country reported 78,357 new cases in the last 24 hours, federal health data showed, taking total infections to 3,769,523. Some 66,333 people have died.
India’s total cases lag only the United States and Brazil, which it will overtake in days based on current trends.
A dozen metro services including in the capital New Delhi would be allowed to reopen from Sept. 7, India’s urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a nationwide lockdown in March when the country was reporting fewer than 100 daily cases, winning praise from some experts for early action but warnings from others the restrictions had been imposed too soon.
India’s economy shrank by nearly a quarter in April-June, data showed on Monday, much more than forecast and placing pressure on policymakers to kick-start growth, despite the high number of new cases.
The chief minister of Goa, a popular tourist destination that has relaxed quarantine rules to attract visitors, said on Wednesday he had tested positive for the virus.
“Those who have come in my close contact are advised to take the necessary precautions,” Pramod Sawant, a member of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said in a tweet.
Authorities in the capital New Delhi are due to meet later on Wednesday to discuss the reopening of the city’s metro, despite fresh cases there sitting at a two-month high.
Reporting by Alasdair Pal in New Delhi; Editing by Stephen Coates and Barbara Lewis
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