Here are the top updates from Friday:

  1. The Union health ministry warned against the declining use of masks among citizens and said that the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic was not over. The Centre cited a projected decline of mask usage, which showed that they were being used more between March and April and the most in May. But there was a steady decline in the use of masks in June and July, it said.
  2. India recorded 38,949 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally of infections since the outbreak of the pandemic in January last year to 3,10,26,829. The toll rose to 4,12,531 as the country recorded 542 more deaths in the last 24 hours. The number of active cases stood at 4,30,422.
  3. The Centre told the Delhi High Court that clinical trials of coronavirus vaccines for children were almost complete. It said that the Zydus Cadila vaccine for children would be available for use once the statutory provisions were met. Meanwhile, the health ministry refuted reports that several children have missed their routine vaccinations due to disruptions caused by the pandemic.
  4. Niti Aayog (Health) member VK Paul warned that the pandemic situation in most countries was going from “bad to worse” and the world was moving towards a third wave. At a meeting with chief ministers of six states earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that a rise in cases in Europe, the United States, Indonesia and Bangladesh was a warning for India and the rest of the world.
  5. Niti Aayog (Health) member VK Paul said that the government has placed a fresh order of 66 crore doses of the two coronavirus vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, ANI reported. Paul added that the central government was aiming to administer 50 crore doses by the end of July.
  6. The Supreme Court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to reconsider its decision to allow the annual pilgrimage of Kanwar Yatra amid the coronavirus crisis. “The health of citizenry of India and right to life is paramount, all other sentiments whether be religious is subservient to this basic fundamental right”, the court said.
  7. The Supreme Court directed that prisoners released with the objective of decongesting jails during Covid-19 should not be asked to surrender until further orders.
  8. Kerala, which has been reporting the highest number of cases over the past few weeks, recorded 13,750 new infections in the last 24 hours, according to the Mathrubhumi.
  9. England’s coronavirus crisis could return again “surprisingly quickly”, the British government’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has said, Reuters reported. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will remove most pandemic restrictions in England from July 19.
  10. The coronavirus disease has infected over 18.92 crore people and killed over 40.70 lakh in the world since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.