At a recently opened café in New Delhi’s biggest park, older visitors pick up a coffee and walk to an isolated spot, while younger ones dine on site, optimistic that the outdoor location makes it safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.    “It’s been a long time and me and my wife decided that it’s time to venture out once in a while,” said Ranjan Khanna, 62, who owns an advertising company in the Indian capital, as he sips his coffee. “Nice sunny day, and it’s been a very nice experience.”    Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
A sporting goods store in the Indian capital sees fewer customers than in pre-pandemic days. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)“The good thing is people are still playing carrom. People are still playing badminton. Gymming surged to an extent which we had not imagined, people were buying 100 kgs of dumbbells and setting up their gyms,” says Bhavana Gupta, co-owner of the Gupta Sports House. “But since the grounds are not open, so equipment for football, cricket all these team sports took a hit.”    News that a vaccine may be rolled out early next year is also ushering in hope.  “I personally feel may be in January at any stage or any week, we can be in a position to give the first COVID vaccine shot to the people of India,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said Sunday.    People in one of Delhi’s major markets give rise to hope that business will improve in India’s recession-hit economy. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)In the city of 20 million, some residents are optimistic that the pandemic may be waning.  “When you hear of vaccine coming and numbers dipping, you think it is going to happen, maybe in six months or so,” says Sonam Ashok Kumar, a Delhi resident.    But with the city once again on the move, there are fresh warnings from virologists to maintain “COVID behavior,” such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, especially amid growing concerns over a new strain of the coronavirus reported to have spread rapidly in Britain.    While the pandemic continues to cast a shadow, people are clinging to a measure of hope.  “The scare is very much there, but life has to go on,” says Khanna, as he takes a walk in the park on a crisp winter morning.   

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