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India allows states to reopen schools, cinemas even as infections rise

MUMBAI: India's federal government on Wednesday allowed states to reopen schools and other educational institutions in a phased manner, as well as cinemas, even as the cases continue to rise daily.

India's case tally increased by 86,821 in 24 hours to 6.31 million by yesterday morning.

Deaths rose by 1,181 to 98,678.

HALF CAPACITY

The federal government issued guidelines allowing cinemas to reopen at 50 per cent capacity, and said states could decide to gradually open schools, colleges and other education institutions from Oct 15.

"Students may attend schools/institutions only with the written consent of parents," the federal government said in a statement.

Movie industry representatives in Bollywood said in May it would take at least two years for them to recover financially from the pandemic, putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

The country's richest state, Maharashtra, home to the financial hub of Mumbai and which accounts for the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country, said on Wednesday it would allow bars and restaurants to restart operations fully.

Hotels in the state can also open at 50 per cent capacity from Oct 5, the local government said.

India imposed a strict nationwide lockdown in March but has slowly lifted restrictions in recent months amid rising concerns of a sharp slowdown in economic growth. - REUTERS

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