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India's lockdown extended until 31 May


India's lockdown extended until 31 May

India on Sunday (May 17) extended a nationwide lockdown to May 31, as coronavirus cases exceeded 90,000. Schools, malls and other public places will remain mostly closed, though rules will be relaxed in areas with low numbers of cases, according to an order from the interior ministry.

"New guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in lockdown restrictions," the ministry said in a tweet accompanying the order.

Large gatherings are still prohibited, but outside of containment zones with high numbers of active cases "all other activities will be permitted", it said, potentially allowing commerce and industry to reopen across much of the country.

Decisions on where to set containment zones would be decided by district authorities, the order said.

India has now reported more cases than China, where the virus first emerged late last year, although deaths at 2,872 remain much lower than China's 4,600. The death toll in the United States and some European countries is much higher.

India's lockdown, introduced on Mar 25 and extended several times, had been due to expire at midnight on Sunday.

The curbs have sparked a crisis for the hundreds of millions of Indians who rely on daily wages to survive.

With no work - and little public transport - many urban migrants attempting to return to their home villages have set out on gruelling journeys on foot or hitched rides in the back of trucks, reports said.

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