Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday that India’s rate of infection has slowed down and cases were doubling every 8.7 days for the last 14 days. Over the last seven days, the rate was 10.2, and it was 10.9 over the last three days, he said, comparing it to the doubling rate of three days at the beginning of the lockdown.

Vardhan made the remarks at an interaction via videoconferencing with autonomous institutes and public sector units under the department of biotechnology.

As many as 80 districts that earlier had cases have reported no new coronavirus cases over the last seven days, Vardhan said. The minister added that 47 districts have not reported a new case for the last 14 days, and 39 districts have not reported a new patient in the last 21 days. Similarly, 17 districts have not reported a case for 28 days, he added.

No new case has been reported from 16 states in the last 24 hours, Vardhan said. As many as 300 districts in the country are non-hotspots, the health minister said, adding that 129 districts have been declared as hotspots as Covid-19 cases were found there.

Vardhan said the Centre was making sure that states have been provided with adequate numbers of personal protective equipment, ventilator, drugs and masks. “The entire country is right now waiting very anxiously for the contribution of the scientists,” he added. “Whether it is about discovery of a new drug, or about good successful results from the trials of the various drugs that are being used to handle Covid, whether it is about the discovery of a new vaccine...or whether it is for the development of indigenous kits...” Vardhan said.

The minister claimed that the pandemic has come as a blessing in disguise for India, as it has provided a fillip to Make In India activities. “I am anxiously waiting to hear from you what you have been doing in the labs right now,” he told researchers. “My only request is that whatever we do, we cannot afford to wait for too long.” Vardhan called for quick results which could be converted into useful solutions for the people.

The total number of cases in India rose to 29,435 on Tuesday morning, including 934 deaths, 6,868 discharges and one migration. This means 21,632 people remain infected with Covid-19.

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