Coronavirus India LIVE updates: Vendors donning PPE kits selling essential items from the other side of the barricades to residents of containment zone at Bapu Dham in Chandigarh.

Coronavirus India LIVE News Updates:

THE GOVERNMENT Tuesday announced a Rs 13 a litre hike in excise duty on diesel and a Rs 10 a litre hike in excise duty on petrol in an attempt to shore up revenues as demand remains subdued due to the lockdown. Finance Ministry officials said the hike in excise duty, which comes into effect Wednesday, will not result in an increase in retail prices for the consumers.

This is the second hike in excise duty on fuel in two months by the Centre and comes after a hike in value added tax by several states over the last few days. A government notification said the special excise duty on petrol was hiked by Rs 2 a litre to Rs 12 a litre and by Rs 5 a litre to Rs 9 a litre for diesel. Road cess on both petrol and diesel has also been increased by Rs 8 a litre to Rs 18 a litre.

A man waiting outside to open grocery shop in Kolkata (Express Photo Shashi Ghosh)

The government had on March 14 hiked the excise duty, and road and infrastructure cess by Rs 3 a litre each for both petrol and diesel. Government sources said the revenue generated from these duties would be used for infrastructure and other developmental expenditure.

The government has also suspended all visas granted to foreign nationals, barring a few categories, till flight operations remain shut owing to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

All existing visas granted to foreigners — except those belonging to diplomatic, official, UN international organisations, employment and project categories — shall remain suspended till prohibition on international air travel of passengers from and to India is lifted by the government, an order by the Ministry of Home Affairs read.

With the eased lockdown in Mumbai leading to huge crowds and compromised social distancing,Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Praveen Pardeshi issued an order Tuesday, withdrawing relaxations for Mumbai and disallowing sale of liquor in the city. The order allowed only shops selling essential goods to operate.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to the coronavirus pandemic is likely to increase inequalities in the long term.”

“… It has been observed that the number of positive cases in the city of Mumbai have been rising and the downward trend is yet to set in and gathering of crowds in large numbers without following social distancing will be detrimental to the control of spread of virus and the advantage of the lockdown will be lost due to gathering of people in large numbers,” the order said.

Meanwhile, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School said in the Lancet that a one-size-fits-all approach to the coronavirus pandemic is likely to increase inequalities in the long term, so countries with less resources must let people get on with their lives — to work, earn money and put food on the table.

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