The Indian government allowed a limited reopening of small businesses in residential areas on Saturday, more than a month after the nation went into a lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, officials said.

Late Friday the federal home ministry said retail shops could start operations with the staff number reduced by 50 percent, while also requiring appropriate social distancing, wearing of masks and gloves during work. The sale of liquor and other non-essential items will continue to be prohibited, and no shops in large market places or malls will be allowed to open for business until May 3.

India has reported 24,506 cases of the virus and 775 deaths, with authorities setting up new teams to focus on compliance and implementation of lockdown measures.

In neighboring Pakistan, the government extended the nationwide lockdown till May 9. However, it is switching to a so-called “smart lockdown” from Saturday for targeted tracking and tracing of cases while allowing some industrial and commercial activities to begin under safety guidelines.

Source : NBC News

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