The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 49,391 and the country recorded 1,694 fatalities, according to the figures from the Union health ministry on Wednesday. Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu recorded a huge increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. With 1,233 new cases, Maharashtra’s tally went up to 16,758, while Tamil Nadu’s tally went up to 4,829 with 771 new cases.
Civic authorities in Ahmedabad ordered the closure of all shops except those selling milk and medicines for a week. Even stores selling groceries, fruits and vegetables will be closed. Ahmedabad has so far reported 4,425 Covid-19 cases and 273 deaths.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver a keynote address on Thursday in honour of Covid-19 frontline warriors and the patients who have died of the disease.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari assured transporters that the government will soon make efforts to restart public transport services, which have been suspended since the imposition of the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic on March 25.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi asked the Centre to reveal its plan of action after the countrywide lockdown to break the chain of Covid-19 infection ends on May 17. Later in the day, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also expressed concern about the coronavirus situation in Maharashtra and highlighted that 34 out of 36 districts were affected.
The central government announced an increase in excise duty by a record Rs 13 for every litre of diesel and Rs 10 per litre of petrol in an attempt to shore up revenue as demand remains subdued due to the nationwide lockdown. Meanwhile, the Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh also increased the prices of petrol, diesel and liquor to help generate revenue during the coronavirus lockdown.
The Centre rebuked the West Bengal government over its low Covid-19 testing figures, high mortality rate and numerous instances of violation of lockdown guidelines, PTI reported. The state has reported 1,344 Covid-19 cases and 140 deaths, according to the Union health ministry.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a meeting of the special task force to combat the coronavirus, where experts and scientists informed him that over 30 vaccines to fight Covid-19 were being developed, with a few going on to the trial stages.
The Karnataka government announced that no more trains will be run to ferry migrant workers stranded in the state to various destinations across the country. It has also announced a Rs 1,610-crore financial package to give relief to those in distress during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. The package will benefit Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, farmers, handloom weavers, flower-growers, washermen, barbers and auto and taxi drivers, among others.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected over 37 lakh people and killed more than 2.59 lakh people, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker.