India to reopen underground train networks even as coronavirus cases jump

The underground train network will be reopened in a phased manner from Sept. 7

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Guest wait to board the first underground metro train after its inauguration by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in New Delhi, December 19, 2004. The technology used to run the metro system is so advanced there is no possibility of a train wreck, the chief of the project has claimed. New Delhi aims to have 62 kilometres of track running by December 2005 with a capacity of two million passengers a day.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Guest wait to board the first underground metro train after its inauguration by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in New Delhi, December 19, 2004. The technology used to run the metro system is so advanced there is no possibility of a train wreck, the chief of the project has claimed. New Delhi aims to have 62 kilometres of track running by December 2005 with a capacity of two million passengers a day.

REUTERS/Kamal Kishore KK/LA

NEW DELHI - India will reopen underground train networks and allow sports and religious events in a limited manner from next month as part of the government's efforts to revive the economy, even as coronavirus infections soar.

India reported 76,472 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, slightly lower than the numbers seen in the last couple of days, but extending a run that has made the country's outbreak currently the world's worst.

The underground train network, a lifeline for millions in the capital city of New Delhi, will be reopened in a phased manner from Sept. 7, the federal home ministry said.

Social, academic, sports and religious events will be permissible with a maximum of a 100 people from Sept. 21, it said.

Schools, colleges will remain closed until end-September.

In all of the containment zones across the country - areas where the spread of infections is most severe - strict lockdown restrictions will remain in place, the government said.

India has reported a total of 3.46 million coronavirus cases, behind the United States and Brazil in terms of total caseload. But it has reported higher single-day case rises than both those countries for almost two weeks.

India's COVID-19 death toll rose by 1,021 to 62,550, data from the federal health ministry showed.

The western Indian state of Maharashtra, home to India's financial capital Mumbai, recorded 331 deaths, the steepest single-day increase among all states over the past two days.

On Friday, lawmaker H. Vasanthakumar from the country's main opposition party Congress became the latest high profile figure to die from COVID-19.

"The news of Kanyakumari MP, Shri H Vasanthakumar's untimely demise due to Covid-19 has come as a shock," Rahul Gandhi, a leading member of the Congress party said in a tweet late on Friday.

(Reporting by Neha Arora Editing by Sanjeev Miglani, Jane Wardell and Frances Kerry) ((neha.dasgupta@tr.com; +91-11-49548058; Reuters Messaging: neha.dasgupta.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net (Twitter: @neha_5))

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