1. World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday said the coronavirus pandemic is a test that the world is failing, AFP reported. “More than four million [40 lakh] people have died and more continue to die,” he said in his address to the International Olympic Committee in Tokyo. “Already this year the number of deaths is more than double last year’s total. Anyone who thinks the pandemic is over is living in a fool’s paradise.”
  2. India’s coronavirus toll rose sharply on Wednesday by 3,998 to 4,18,480 as Maharashtra revised its figures. The state added 3,509 old fatalities to its toll. Overall, India recorded 42,015 new coronavirus infections, pushing the tally of cases since the outbreak of the pandemic in January to 3,12,16,337.
  3. The Opposition heavily criticised the Centre for claiming that states did not specifically report any deaths due to oxygen shortages during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. India struggled with a grave oxygen crisis in the second wave. The shortages of the life-saving gas forced families and friends of patients to plead for help on social media. Hospitals sent out SOS messages as their oxygen stocks ran dangerously low.
  4. At least five states, including those not ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, also claimed on Wednesday that there had been no deaths due to lack of oxygen during the second wave. This includes Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Bihar.
  5. The Kerala government announced a complete lockdown in the state on July 24 and 25 amid a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases. The state reported 17,481 coronavirus cases on Wednesday with a positivity rate of nearly 12%.
  6. Himachal Pradesh recorded 6,081 excess deaths between April 2020 and May 2021. This is 1.9 times more than the official Covid toll of 3,127 during the same time period.
  7. The participation of Indian athletes in the opening ceremony for the Olympic games on Friday will be kept at a “bare minimum” in view of Covid-19 risks, PTI reported. Athletes scheduled to compete on Saturday will skip the ceremony.
  8. Australia’s New South Wales and Victoria states reported a sharp increase in infections, according to Reuters. New South Wales registered 110 new cases, while Victoria added 22.
  9. The World Health Organization said that the Delta variant was likely to become the dominant strain in the coming months, Reuters reported.
  10. Globally, the coronavirus disease has infected more than 19.14 crore people and killed over 41.18 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.