The government today said it will consider restarting international flights, metro trains, cinemas and gyms after the first two phases of lockdown5, which kicks in on June 8 with the opening of places of worship, hotels, restaurants and malls.
The Home Ministry in a statement said based on the situation of the first two phases, the government will decide on the dates for restarting international flights, metro rail, cinema halls, gyms, swimming pools, parks, bars, auditoriums and assembly halls.
Regular international and domestic flights were stopped after the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in late March. This week, the government allowed domestic flights to resume, but with strict social distancing and safety guidelines.
The government has also been bringing home Indians stranded abroad on special flights, for which passengers have to pay for their tickets.
Several mall, theatre and gym owners and other businesses including salons have been asking the government to allow customers to return as their earnings have been hit hard by the strict but necessary lockdown.
In today's announcement, the centre allowed a three-phased reopening of all services and stores in areas outside containment zones, except for a select list of services and places that will reopen in phases or are yet to be decided.
The lockdown will be in force in all containment zones till June 30. Only essential services will be allowed in containment zones, the government said.
So far 45,000 Indians have been flown home from abroad under the centre's "Vande Bharat Mission" that was launched on May 7 to repatriate stranded Indians amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. It said one lakh more will be flown home till June 13.
India reported the biggest single-day jump in the number of new coronavirus patients and those who died due to the highly infectious illness with 7,964 fresh cases and 265 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 1,73,763 cases, according to data shared by the Health Ministry this morning.
The country has logged 4,971 deaths since the pandemic began. More than 80,000 patients have recovered so far. Of these, a record number of 11,264 patients recovered in the last 24 hours.