New Delhi:  In a major indication that the Narendra Modi-led government might lift the lockdown after May 17, the Indian Railways yesterday announced they would run 15 air conditioned (AC) express trains equivalent to its premium Rajdhani Express from May 12 with limited stops. Also Read - Mann ki Baat: From COVID-19 to Locust Plague, Here's PM Modi's Message to All Indians | Top Highlights

In a statement, the Railway Ministry said,”Indian Railways plans to gradually restart passenger train operations from 12th May, 2020… Thereafter, Indian Railways shall start more special services on new routes. It will be mandatory for the passengers to wear face cover and undergo screening at departure and only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to board the train.” Also Read - COVID-19 Threats Are As Serious As Before: What PM Modi Says on Mann ki Baat a Day Before Unlock 1.0 Begins

This comes soon after Union Health Minister asserted that 10 states/union territories have not reported single case of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours and there are four states/UTs in the country that never reported any coronavirus case. Also Read - Maharashtra's Guidelines For Govt Employees: Thermal Screening Before Entering Offices, 3 Ply Mask Must

He informed that National Institute of Virology in Pune has successfully developed the first indigenous antibody detection kit for COVID-19. The testing kit would help to study the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies in the Indian population. According to the government data, 1,511 COVID-19 patients recovered in the last 24 hours — the highest number of recoveries recorded in one day. Besides, the recovery rate has increased to over 30 per cent.

On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced 21-day nationwide lockdown to break the chain of COVID-19. He again extended the lockdown for 19 more days till May 3 and then government once again extended the lockdown for to more weeks till May 17.

In view of the nationwide lockdown since March 24. the railways had suspended the passenger, mail and express train services. Only freight and special parcel trains were running to transport the essential items across the country.