India and Pakistan are planning to partially reopen their economies to minimize the cost of restrictive measures imposed to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, officials in the two countries said on Monday.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter he will address the nation on Tuesday, at the end of a 21-day lockdown that has severely disrupted economic activity and left millions of its 1.3 billion people out of work.
Two Pakistani cabinet ministers told Reuters the civil and military leadership would meet on Monday to decide whether to extend countrywide restrictions there beyond April 15.
The government is trying to increase testing for the virus, which causes COVID-19, a respiratory disease, from about 15,000 samples a day to around 40,000.
On Monday, the Supreme Court reversed a government order to make testing in private laboratories free after industry leaders and doctors said they would stop unless they were compensated.
“The private labs can continue to charge ... for testing of COVID-19 from persons who are able to make payment,” the court said.
Pakistan top body meets
Neighboring Pakistan, which has recorded 5,374 cases of the virus, with 93 deaths, on Sunday extended border closures for another two weeks, the interior ministry said.
Its command and control authority, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, is likely to extend lockdown measures at meetings on Monday and Tuesday, two ministers told Reuters.