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India reopens Taj Mahal, schools despite fears over coronavirus surge

Schools in several Indian states partially reopened on Monday despite concerns among students and parents as the country sees record daily spikes in coronavirus infections and deaths.

New Delhi, 21 September 2020 (dpa/MIA) — Schools in several Indian states partially reopened on Monday despite concerns among students and parents as the country sees record daily spikes in coronavirus infections and deaths.

India is the second-most infected country behind the United States, with 5,487,580 confirmed cases and over 87,800 deaths. It has reported the highest number of daily cases globally in recent weeks, adding 86,961 cases and 1,130 deaths in the last 24 hours.

After more than five months of closure, schools in some states like Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Assam opened for senior students between 9th and 12th grade to enable them to consult teachers. The students can attend on a voluntary basis.

Teachers were seen taking declaration forms with the written consent of parents sending their children to school.

However, several major states like Uttar Pradesh and the national capital New Delhi decided against reopening schools because of the fast-spreading pandemic.

While several students said they were happy to attend school as they struggled with the stresses of online learning, footage on news channels showed attendance was thin, with most staying away.

Many students expressed reluctance due to fears of exposing themselves to infection.

“We will continue with online classes. We cannot go to school till the situation is safe and cases are spreading,” Bhaskar, a student in Assam, told broadcaster NDTV.

Meanwhile, India’s top tourist attraction, the Taj Mahal, also reopened its doors to a long waiting list of visitors on Monday, under strict safety measures.

India imposed a strict lockdown from March 25 but began lifting restrictions from mid-May to revive the economy, which has seen a loss of millions of jobs.

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