Covid-19 has so far claimed 1,981 lives in the country. (Reuters)
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in a statement Saturday announced its partnership with Bharat Biotech International Limited to develop a fully indigenous vaccine for COVID-19.
The vaccine will be developed using virus strain isolated at ICMR’s National Institute of Virology, Pune, the body said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 cases in the country neared the 60,000 marks, including 1,981 deaths. While the number of active cases stood at 39,834, as many as 17,846 persons have recovered so far. The state of Maharashtra continues to remain the worst-affected with 19,063 cases and 731 deaths, followed by Gujarat.
On the global front, the number of coronavirus cases approached 4 million with over 2,75,160 deaths. The US has recorded the most fatalities at 77,180, followed by the United Kingdom (31,316) and Italy (30,201).
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Migrant labourers stand in queue to undergo medical tests before boarding Shramik Special trains to return to their home states, on Friday(Express Photo: Gurmeet Singh)
The death of 16 migrant labourers who were mowed down by an empty freight train in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district brought the focus back to the plight of migrant workers, rendered unemployed and homeless, since a nationwide lockdown was announced to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The workers, who were walking to Bhusawal from Jalna to board a “Shramik Special” train to return to Madhya Pradesh, were sleeping on the railway line when the mishap occurred between Badnapur and Karmad stations in Nanded Division.
The empty train was heading from Cherlapally Station near Hyderabad to Panewadi Station near Manmad in Nashik. The motormen tried to bring the train to a halt but failed to do so, an official said.
The move comes almost three weeks after the ICMR on April 13 had issued a tender asking Central PSUs to act as Procurement Agency for essential supplies related to the COVID19 testing
In another news, public sector unit HLL Infra Tech Services Limited under the Ministry of Health of Family Welfare on Friday began issuing tenders on behalf of Indian Council of Medical Research for the supply of testing kits, in a major shift with respect to the procurement of testing kits in India for COVID19.
The move comes almost three weeks after the ICMR on April 13 had issued a tender asking Central PSUs to act as Procurement Agency for essential supplies related to the COVID19 testing. The April 13 decision of the ICMR had come after the agency has come under the scanner over the delay in the procurement of testing kits.
On Friday, Procurement & Consultancy Services Division of HITES, on behalf of ICMR - invited an e-tender for three medical types of equipment: RT-PCR kits, RNA extraction kits, and Viral Media Transport. The tender has been issued for a supply of 29,00,000 RT-PCR kits, 33,00,000 RNA extraction kits, and 40,00,000 Viral Media Transport.
The decision to rope in a specialised PSU for procurement of testing kits also comes in the backdrop of the ICMR increasing the testing capacity to 1 lakh tests per day by the end of June.
A visitor looks inside his bag of donated food for people in need in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
The fallout of the novel coronavirus is taking a toll on developed economies. An unprecedented 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs in April and the unemployment rate in the US jumped to 14.7 per cent, the highest level since the Great Depression, as the coronavirus pandemic severely curtailed operations in the world's largest economy.
The Department of Labor announced Friday that the US unemployment rate rose to 14.7 per cent from just 4.4 per cent in March and a near 50-year low of 3.5 per cent in February before the US was hit by the virus.