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Ten more districts in four states report no coronavirus cases in two weeks

Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the ministry, said that a high-level task force was formed to work on drug testing and vaccines. 

Published: 20th April 2020 02:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th April 2020 11:44 AM   |  A+A-

Health workers check body temperature of policemen deployed on lockdown duties in Bhopal on Sunday. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Ten more districts in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Assam have reported no fresh COVID-19 cases in last two weeks, making them among 54 such districts spread across 23 states and Union Territories, the Centre said on Sunday.

The 10 districts are Gaya and Saran (Bihar), Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh), Fatehgarh Sahib and Rupnagar (Punjab), Bhiwani, Hisar and Fatehabad (Haryana) and Cachar and Lakhimpur (Assam). India has now 15,712 corona cases while as many as 2,231 or 14 per cent of them recovered from the infection, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in its daily briefing.

Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the ministry, said that a high-level task force was formed to work on drug testing and vaccines. 

Co-chaired by Dr V K Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog and K Vijay Raghvan, principal scientific advisor to the PM, the task force will have representatives from AYUSH ministry, Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Science and Technology, CSIR, Drug Controller General of India and DRDO among others.

The group is tasked to co-ordinate between ministries on vaccine development and speed up the research work carried out through international efforts by academicians and research institutions.  

From Monday, restrictions will be eased in non-containment areas but containment areas in hotspot districts will not be given any relaxation, the official said.  States may impose further additional measures as per the local requirements.

According to central guidelines, hotspots are areas with large COVID-19 outbreaks or clusters with a significant spread or districts where the doubling rate of cases is less than four days.

Within hotspots, local administration is expected to demarcate containment zones and buffer zones.

“Within containment zones, activities shall not be permitted within a strict perimeter control except for essential services. For places where selective relaxations are granted, administrators must ensure that strict compliance of lockdown is done and preparatory actions as per SOPs related to social distancing are being followed in offices, workplaces, factories and establishments,” the guideline said.

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