India Continues to Ease Restrictions While Setting New Protocol for Future Tourism (Video)
India is looking ahead to reopening for tourism and easing its lockdown restrictions even as the country continues to report high numbers of new coronavirus cases.
India reopened its state borders along with places of worship and businesses including restaurants and malls on Monday, The Associated Press reported. Schools, gyms and metro rail remain closed. Additionally, sporting events are still not allowed.
Ahead of Monday's reopening, small shops and delivery services were already back in business.
International flights remain limited to residents of India returning home.
Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s civil aviation minister, tweeted over the weekend the “decision to resume regular international operations will be taken as soon as countries ease restrictions on entry of foreign nationals. Destination countries have to be ready to allow incoming flights.”
The Ministry of Tourism also issued guidelines for hotels, restaurants, and tour operators as part of its efforts to curb coronavirus while stimulating tourism. The ministry advised tourism service providers to book tourists with no medical history of the virus in the past 28 days, provide hand sanitizer and masks in all vehicles, and to greet visitors with “Namaste” rather than shake their hands.
The ministry also said hotels should disinfect all high-touch areas like door handles and elevator buttons as well as have staff undergo daily temperature checks. And restaurants must reduce seating capacity by 50 percent, encourage e-payments, and ensure staff wear masks and gloves.
India has recorded more than 270,800 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, the fifth-highest case total in the world. And cases in the country keep rising — the AP noted India reported its highest single-day death toll on Monday and added more than 9,900 cases.
Initially, India implemented a 10-week lockdown — and even transformed a train into a prototype quarantine facility -- but restrictions have started to ease in an effort to boost the economy there.