New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday said that the number of confirmed cases across the country has increased to 20,471 with 652 deaths and 3,949 recoveries so far. The ministry also stated that there is an increase of 49 fatalities and 1,486 cases since Tuesday evening. Also Read - Sri Lanka Intensifies Coronavirus Testing in Colombo Slums

1) Out of the total 49 deaths reported since Tuesday evening, 19 were from Maharashtra, 18 Gujarat, four from Madhya Pradesh, three from West Bengal, two from Andhra Pradesh and one each from Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Also Read - Coronavirus Red Zone: Check Full List of 89 Containment Areas in Delhi

2) And of the total 652 deaths, Maharashtra tops the tally with 251, followed by Gujarat at 95, Madhya Pradesh at 80, Delhi at 47, Rajasthan at 25, Andhra Pradesh at 24 and Telangana at 23, according to the ministry. Also Read - ‘Commend Your Leadership’: Bill Gates Praises PM Modi For Taking Bold Steps to Fight Coronavirus

3) In Dharavi area of Mumbai, nine more people were on Wednesday tested positive, taking the number of coronavirus cases in the densely populated slum area to 189. At least 12 COVID-19 patients from the area have died so far.

4) As a number of media people tested positive across various states, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory to print and electronic media, calling on journalists covering coronavirus-related incidents to take precautions.

5) To deal with the attacks on health workers and others on the front line of the battle against COVID-19, the Centre on Wednesday approved an ordinance making acts of violence a non-bailable offence with maximum punishment of seven years imprisonment and Rs 5 lakh fine. This was a key demand of health professionals in the wake of recent attacks on them.

6) Addressing a press conference, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said a person can be sentenced to anywhere between three months and five years in jail, besides a fine between Rs 50,000 and two lakh, for crimes against healthcare workers under the new provision.

7) On the other hand, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) called off its proposed ‘white alert’ and ‘black day’ protests scheduled for April 22 and 23 following a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah through video conference on Wednesday.

8) During the Cabinet Committee meeting, the Central government also approved Rs 15,000 crore for ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’ for setting up dedicated treatment facilities and laboratories as part of an urgent response to contain the pandemic. However, the fund will be used in three phases.

9) Issuing fresh advisory, the Union Health Ministry asked chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories to adopt adequate measures in ensuring the safety of health workers involved in COVID-19 services.

10) To assess the coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with chief ministers via video conferencing on April 27 morning on the way ahead in the fight against coronavirus. This will be the third such video conference.

11) In West Bengal, the political stand-off between the Centre and the state continued with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleging that the central government had dispatched faulty testing kits to her state.

12) Meanwhile, the Assam government has decided to allow the movement of people stranded in different parts of the state due to the lockdown for three days from April 25 in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Union Home Ministry.

13) Going in line with the Central government, the Karnataka government on Wednesday promulgated an ordinance, making acts of non-cooperation during epidemics punishable offence with a maximum jail term of three years.

14) President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday approved the ordinance making acts of violence against healthcare personnel fighting COVID-19 pandemic as cognizable and non-bailable offences. “The president has given his assent for promulgation of the ordinance,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.