India experienced its highest one-day jump in new coronavirus cases Monday even as the government is easing one of the strictest lockdowns in the world.
India reported 1,553 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, bringing the country’s total to more than 17,000, The Associated Press reported. The country has counted at least 543 COVID-19 deaths.
Health experts estimate the nation will not experience a peak in cases until June. But it has begun loosening its restrictions, allowing some manufacturing and agricultural activity to continue as long as participants follow social distancing and hygiene rules, according to the AP.
India has been on lockdown since March 24, with everything except for essential services closed. Migrants and those who survive on daily wages left the cities in mass to rural areas, and authorities wound up detaining some of those who traveled in violation of safety rules in empty schools and public buildings.
Migrants will now be permitted to travel within states to factories, farms and other work areas.
“In the event a group of migrants wish to return to their places of work within the state where they are presently located, they would be screened and those who are asymptomatic would be transported to their respective places of work,” India’s home ministry said in a letter to state governments, according to the AP.
But the country remains largely shut down with its airspace closed to commercial traffic and rail systems, buses and metros halted. Schools, stadiums and houses of worship are required to stay closed until May 3.
India has also been increasing its testing capabilities and amount of available ventilators and personal protective equipment. Officials have also worked to create isolation wards and hospitals for coronavirus patients, the AP reported.