On Saturday, April 25, the Ministry of Interior announced that small shops in residential areas would be permitted to reopen amid efforts to gradually ease coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions. The ministry advised that standalone stores could reopen with immediate effect if certain conditions were adhered to. Stores can only operate with a maximum of 50 percent of the workforce and should maintain social distancing measures, including the wearing of face masks. Shopping malls and other large multi-brand stores are to remain closed and no shops will be allowed to reopen in hundreds of 'hotspots' where there is a high rate of COVID-19 infections.
On Wednesday, April 15, the Ministry of Home Affairs released a statement announcing it would allow industries in the information technology sector, as well as agricultural and other rural industries, to resume operations amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The construction of roads and buildings in rural areas is also allowed to resume. Restrictions were also lifted on e-commerce and the movement of goods by road, as well as the resumption of air cargo and port operations.
On Tuesday, April 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the nationwide lockdown until Sunday, May 3. Under the lockdown, individuals are banned from leaving their homes and only essential services remain operational; most shops, offices, markets, and places of worship are closed, and interstate bus and train services are suspended. A ban on international commercial passenger flights is also ongoing. Cargo operations and flights with prior approval are exempt from the restrictions.
As of April 25, there have been 24,942 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India, including 780 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantine measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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