Coronavirus News Asia

India to ‘gradually’ restart rail operations

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One of the world’s largest train networks will “gradually” restart operations from Tuesday as India eases its coronavirus lockdown. The number of cases has passed 60,000 and more than 2,000 have died.

Some 30 train journeys – 15 pairs of return trips – will run from the capital New Delhi to other cities including Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai, Indian Railways said late Sunday.

“Indian Railways plans to gradually restart passenger train operations from 12th May, 2020… Thereafter, Indian Railways shall start more special services on new routes,” the Railways Ministry added in a statement.

“It will be mandatory for the passengers to wear face cover and undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the train.”

The vast train network, which had carried more than 20 million passengers daily, was halted in late March as India imposed a strict lockdown to stem the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.

Trains for migrants

Since early May, the government said some 366 special trains carrying up to 1,200 passengers on each service have operated to help stranded poor, rural migrant workers who lost their jobs in cities in the lockdown to return to their villages.

Railways Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted Sunday that up to 300 special trains catering to migrants can run every day.

“I appeal to all the states to give permission to evacuate and bring back their stranded migrants so that we can get all of them back to their homes in the next 3-4 days itself,” he added.

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