Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday has expressed hopes that there will be coronavirus vaccine available for the country by the beginning of the next year.

In his address to the Rajya Sabha, the minister said, “India is making efforts just like other countries. PM Modi is handling the Covid-19 meticulously.”

“Under PM Modi’s guidance, an expert group is looking at it and we have advanced planning in place. We are hopeful that by the beginning of the next year, a vaccine will be available in India,” Health Minister said.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said that all the chief ministers have fought this battle along with the Prime Minister, adding that detailed advisories were circulated even before the first coronavirus case was detected in the country on January 30.

Minister contended that from January 8, the Prime Minister, the ministers and state health ministers have been addressing the situation.

He also responded to Congress MP Anand Sharma’s query in the Rajya Sabha regarding his earlier statement that between 14 lakh and 29 lakh cases were averted by the lockdown imposed in March.

He said it was based on data provided by six scientific agencies.

Union Minister Harsh Vardhan had on the first day of the Parliament’s monsoon session said that India averted a major crisis when the coronavirus outbreak started because of the countrywide lockdown imposed by PM Modi.

“The lockdown prevented up to 29 lakh cases, I congratulate PM Modi,” he had said.

India has recorded a fresh spike of 97,894  coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s tally of Covid-19 cases past the 51 lakh mark, according to Ministry of Health.

India, which remain the second worst affected nation, has a  total of 51,18,253 Covid-19 cases. For the first time, India’s active cases have crossed the 10 lakh mark and the active Covid-19 cases in the country is 10,09.976. The number of fatalities due to the pandemic is 83,198, with 1,132 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours.

India’s recovery rate which is 78.64 per cent with 40,25,079 patients that have recovered from Covid-19.