India on Wednesday morning recorded 41,965 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking its infection tally to 3,28,10,845 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The new cases are 35.6% higher than Tuesday’s count of 30,941 cases.

With 460 deaths, the toll climbed to 4,39,020. The active caseload rose to 3,78,181. As many as 3,19,93,644 people have recovered from the disease so far.

India has administered 65,34,81,978 Covid-19 vaccine doses with 14,96,13,247 beneficiaries receiving both the shots, according to government data on CoWIN portal. With 1.33 crore doses in a day, India achieved a new vaccination milestone on Tuesday since the inoculation drive began on January 16.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said that it has identified a new variant of the virus known as “Mu”, reported AFP. The variant, scientifically known as B.1.621, was first discovered in Colombia in January and has been classified by the global health body as a “variant of interest”.

In its weekly pandemic bulletin, the World Health Organization said it was monitoring the variant. “The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the bulletin said, adding that further studies were needed to better understand the mutation.

Credit: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Other updates

  • Delhi schools reopened on Wednesday with coronavirus guidelines in place after a gap of 17 months, reported NDTV. The guidelines to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease include mandatory thermal screening, 50% seating arrangement in each school, staggered lunch breaks, and mandatory isolation room in school premises.
  • Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray alleged that the state government was using the pandemic crisis to their benefit, reported The Hindu. He also alleged that the government was “selectively” relaxing Covid-19 guidelines. Various members of his party also defied the ban on public gatherings and participated in Janmashthami celebrations on Tuesday.
  • Pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila said that its vaccine will be “affordable” based on the technology and volume of the jabs, News18 reported. Dr Sharvil Patel, managing director of Zydus Group, said that the first consignment of vaccines are likely to be delivered by the end of August.
  • Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said that special vaccination camps will be held on every Wednesday across the state in which 10 lakh doses will be administered to beneficiaries, reported The Hindu.
  • At least 20 people were injured in a stampede at a vaccination centre in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district, NDTV reported. The incident took place at a school in Dhupguri block after a crowd of nearly 2,000 people rushed in after the gates of the vaccination centre were opened around 10 am on Tuesday.

Global updates

  • Google again postponed a return to the office for most employees till January 10. Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai asked workers to get vaccinated before the campuses are fully reopened.
  • The European Union said that 70% of the adult population, or over 25.6 crore people, in the bloc were now fully vaccinated.   
  • The US State Department raised its advisory alert for its citizens travelling to Canada, reported Reuters. 
  • Covid-19 has infected more than 21.76 crore people and led to over 45.18 lakh deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.