15:52 GMT16 January 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): India’s federal home ministry on Friday (24 April) partially relaxed lockdown conditions and allowed the opening of certain categories of shops across the country, including those in residential complexes, neighbourhood stores and standalone shops.

    Certain kinds of shops opened on Saturday across India, after the Home Ministry relaxed its norms after a month-long lockdown. However, the exemption is not applicable for shops in single-brand and multi-brand malls outside the limits of municipal corporations, or shops in hotspots/containment zones.   

    However, it is mandatory for all shops being granted permission to open with 50 percent iof their workforce, ensure the compulsory wearing of masks and strict adherence of social distancing norms.

    During the lockdown period, only shops selling milk, vegetable, medicine and other daily essentials were allowed to remain open.

    People were seen thronging into shops in the national capital, western Mumbai and southern Chennai after they opened on Saturday morning. In Chennai however, a complete lockdown would be imposed from 26-29 April from 0600 Hrs to 2100 Hrs IST, as announced by the state Chief Edappadi Palaniswami. 

    ​The lockdown was imposed on 25 March in a bid to restrict the spread of Coronavirus in the country, initially for a period of 21 days, which was extended by another 19 days. As of now, the lockdown is scheduled to be lifted on 3 May.

    Ever since Coronavirus or COVID-19 hit the country on 30 January, the caseload has snowballed to reach 24,506 on Saturday, according to the federal Health and Family Welfare Ministry. This includes 5,063 people cured and discharged as well as 775 people who had succumbed to the infection.

    Maharashtra is the worst-affected among India's states in terms of the number of positive cases – 6,817 with 301 deaths, followed by Gujarat (2,815 with 127 deaths) and the nation's capital Delhi (2,514 positive cases and 53 deaths).


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