COVID-19 On Monday, Major Indian cities have re-opened for business bringing back the normal days, with long queues forming for buses in the financial hub of Mumbai and traffic on the roads of New Delhi. This reopening is after the devastating second wave of coronavirus which had hit India, claiming thousands of lives.
Since April 6th, the 1,00,636 new infections of the past 24 hours were the lowest in the world’s second-most populous nation. This number is substantially lower than last moths peak of 4,00,00, coming as a signal to re-open certain parts of the country.
Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, took to Twitter to share his thoughts, “We have to save ourselves from infection but also bring the economy back on track.”
He has ordered to open half the capital’s shops following odd and even-numbered days of the month respectively, in an attempt to limit crowds, but has allowed offices and the Delhi underground rail network to run at only 50% of capacity.
Some curbs have been retained in the city that is still slowly recovering from a surge in April and May that overwhelmed their hospitals. These bans include those on dining in restaurants and the use of theatres and gyms.
They were in a shortage of beds and medical oxygen, and people were dying in the hospital’s parking lots and at their homes, while crematoriums and morgues were struggling to cope with an incessant flow of corpses.
India added 2,427 deaths overnight for a toll of 349,186, the health ministry said, down from more than 4,000 each day at the height of the crisis, while its tally of infections now stands at 28.9 million.
Experts however are of the opinion that both these figures have been severely undercounted and could be in fact a few times higher than the official number.
Authorities in the western state of Maharashtra, home to Mumbai, have allowed businesses to run till late afternoon, staffing being restricted to half of their employees, and have also opened gyms, salons and spas, with cinemas and malls being the only places to remain closed.
This re-opening is amidst all the efforts of the authorities to inoculate the population of nearly 1.4 billion against the virus. This is the only way, according to officials, through which a third wave can be stopped.
But tight supplies have meant that fewer than 5% of 950 million adult Indians have received the mandatory two vaccine doses.
It is the pressure that India is facing to resume some economic activity as millions depend on daily wages to pay for food and rent.
“I have opened my shop after 40 days,” a tea vendor, Monu Yadav, told Reuter’s partner ANI in the northern city of Varanasi, adding that only a fraction of his customers had returned.
Last week, the central bank cut its forecast for economic growth to 9.5% from 10.5% for the fiscal year 2021/22.
Shaktikanta Das, the governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stated, The second wave had “impaired the nascent recovery that was underway,” but “not snuffed it out.”