The chief minister of Delhi, India's capital, announced on Sunday that COVID-19 restrictions would be relaxed next week if new cases continued to see a downward trend.
"If cases continue to drop for a week, then from May 31 we will start the process of unlocking," said Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi's chief minister.
Delhi, which went into a lockdown on April 20, is one of the worst hit places in India. It reported a 36% positivity rate from COVID tests last month. In recent weeks, cases have declined and the positivity rate has fallen below 2.5%.
Kejriwal said that Delhi had reported 1,600 new cases of COVID in the past 24 hours. Many states across India, including Maharashtra, one of the worst hit, continue to remain under lockdown.
The Indian Council of Medical Research told Reuters news agency this month that districts with higher rate of infection should stay under lockdown for at least six to eight weeks to break the chain of transmission.
Acute vaccine shortage
Kejriwal reiterated that the state had made arrangements to vaccinate everyone in three months, but continued to face an "acute vaccine shortage."
Kejriwal said that he was trying to secure vaccine doses from the central government and foreign companies. "If anyone is giving the vaccine, we are ready to buy it for the people of Delhi at any cost," he said.
He added that Delhi was preparing for a third wave of infections. The state is forming a task force of senior doctors and administrative officers and another one to look into logistics such as availability of medicines, oxygen and beds.
On Sunday, India reported over 240,800 new cases of COVID and 3,761 deaths from the virus.
am/aw (Reuters, AP)