India further extends coronavirus lockdown after biggest one-day jump in cases

By Sanjay Jha, ITV News, New Delhi

India has further extended the world’s largest and strictest lockdown for two more weeks due rapidly increasing number of daily cases.

"Lockdown measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 will continue for a period of up to (May 31)," said India’s interior Ministry said in a tweet. But it said some sectors would be permitted to open up.

The lockdown extension came as India recorded its biggest single-day jump in virus cases with 4,987 new infections in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to 90,927 with 2,872 deaths.

The Western Indian state of Maharashtra has reported nearly a third of India's total cases. Coronavirus cases in the state crossed the 30,000-mark on Saturday, as it reported 1,606 new cases in a single day. With a jump of 884 cases, India’s financial capital Mumbai's total reached 18,555.

A man covers his face when walking on the streets. Credit: PA

Virus lockdown, introduced on March 25 and have been extended several times, was to expire at midnight on Sunday.

The lockdown, affecting 1.3 billion people, has been in force since late March and has been devastating for the economy affecting the poorest member of society, with millions of migrant workers losing their jobs.

“New guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in lockdown restrictions,” the ministry said in a tweet accompanying the order.

Domestic flights, railways, schools, malls and other public places will remain mostly closed, though rules will be relaxed in areas with low numbers of cases, according to a guideline from the interior ministry.

Any kind of political activity, social gathering, attending places of worship and religious congregation will remain prohibited during the lockdown.

The night curfew will also remain which meant that all non-essential travel will remain prohibited between 7pm and 7am.