New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) The Health Ministry on Sunday said that there are no new cases in 54 districts in the country and also announced that a high-level task force has been constituted to work on cutting edge vaccine and drug testing.
At the daily media briefing, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said: "A high-level task force has been constituted to work on the frontier of vaccine and drug testing. Its main task is to speed up academia, industry and international efforts."
It will be co-chaired by the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government and NITI Aayog Member, he added.
"Under this, the Department of Biotechnology has been made the central coordination committee to develop the vaccine. It will make efforts to identify the pathways for vaccine development.
"We will make efforts to make a dynamic list of national and international efforts of those working on vaccine development and monitor their progress.
"In this task force, clinical cohorts, which will focus on long term follow up of people for better understanding of disease and its management, will be worked on," Agarwal said.
The Ministry also said that there have been a total 1,334 new cases and 27 deaths in the last 24 hours, which has taken the total fatalities to 507. The total number of cases in the country now stands at 15,712. A total of 2,231 people or 14.19 percent people are cured.
"There are no new cases in 54 districts in 23 states and UTs in the country in the last 14 days," Agarwal said.
This includes ten new districts, including Bihar's Gaya and Saran, Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly, Punjab's Fatehgarh and Rupnagar, Haryana's Bhiwani, Hisar and Fatehabad and Assam's Kachaar and Lakhimpur.
The Health Ministry also said that there are a total of 755 dedicated hospitals and 1,389 dedicated health care centres in the country which takes the total dedicated facilities where severe or critical patients can be treated to 2,144.