Students evacuated from Bangladesh entering a quarantine centre in Srinagar on Saturday (Photo: KM/Umar Ganie)

Srinagar: Coronavirus refuses to cease in India as the country reported 3,277 new cases and 128 more deaths in the last 24 hours taking the overall tally of positive cases to 62,939, including 2,109 deaths.

The number also includes 19,358 recoveries so far.

The cases in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, Ahmedabad, and Chennai comprise at least 50 percent of the overall number.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the nodal body for COVID-19 testing, has partnered with a biotech firm, the Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL), to develop a fully indigenous vaccine for the virus, news agency PTI reported.

The vaccine will be developed using the virus strain isolated at the ICMR’s National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, a statement by the top medical body on Saturday said. Coronavirus is spreading fast across the world yet no antiviral drug or vaccine are currently available while many countries continue the search for a cure.

The country is in the third phase of the nationwide lockdown slated to be lifted on May 17.

Though Covid-19 cases are doubling at a faster pace into the first week of the third phase of the lockdown, the general sentiment in the government appears to be against rolling back the relaxations towards a gradual un-lockdown. The nature of high-level meetings within the government and new advisories issued for Covid-19 management in the past fortnight testify to this.

On Saturday, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) issued guidelines on “restarting manufacturing industries after lockdown” to states. While most of them deal with safety protocols regarding restarting industrial processes — coming days after the Visakhapatnam factory disaster — the guidelines also cover sanitisation, health checks and quarantine-related aspects covering workers.

Globally, there are over 4 million coronavirus cases, with deaths exceeding 2,79,000.

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