Here are the top updates from Friday:

  1. Serum Institute of India Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla on Friday said his company hoped to launch another Covid-19 vaccine by the first quarter of 2022, reported PTI. “The Covovax vaccine for kids will be launched in the first quarter of the next year most likely in January-February,” Poonawalla said. The entrepreneur met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament for 30 minutes before the announcement.
  2. India on Friday reported 44,643 new coronavirus cases, taking the country’s tally to 3,18,56,757 since the pandemic broke out in January last year, data from the health ministry showed. The new cases are nearly 4% higher than Thursday’s count of 42,982.
  3. The Kerala government has become the first to introduce a mandatory negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test for unvaccinated residents who want to visit any public place, including shops, for unvaccinated people. State Health Minister Veena George said the government had taken this decision because it was responsible to protect the people, reported the Hindustan Times.
  4. The Tamil Nadu government has decided to reopen schools for students in classes 9 to 12 from September 1, reported The Times of India. Chief Minister MK Stalin said that his administration had decided to allow schools with 50% stsudent capacity. All medical and nursing institutes would reopen from August 16. The announcement came as the state government extended other restrictions till August 23. Meanwhile, Karnataka also decided to reopen schools of classes 9 to 12 from August 23 in two phases, reported ANI. 
  5. India crossed a record of administering 50 crore vaccine doses on Friday evening, announced Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. The health minister hailed the achievement.
  6. Scientists from India, China, Russia and Brazil, also known as the BRICS countries will start genome sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2, or the coronavirus, and undertake epidemiological studies and mathematical modelling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  7. Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson on Thursday applied for emergency-use authorisation to the Indian government of its single-dose coronavirus vaccine. Johnson & Johnson will collaborate with Hyderabad-based Biological E Limited to launch the vaccine in India and other countries across the world.
  8. American news media company CNN has fired three of its employees who flouted Covid-19 rules and turned up to work without getting vaccinated. “Let me be clear – we have a zero tolerance policy on this,” said the company’s President Jeff Zucker in a note to employees, according to Reuters.
  9. Scientists at United Kingdom’s Public Health England said there were some indicators that showed that those vaccinated against Covid-19 may transmit the Delta variant of the coronavirus as easily as those who have not received their shots, reported Reuters.
  10. The total number of Covid-19 cases across the globe since the pandemic began in December 2019 crossed 200 million on Thursday with the highly contagious Delta variant driving a resurgence of the virus in several countries.