Here are the top updates from Thursday:

  1. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that even though there is a decline in the weekly Covid-19 positivity rate in India, the second wave is not yet over. Meanwhile, Indian Council of Medical Research chief Balram Bhargava said mass gatherings during festivals should clearly be discouraged. But he added that if it was absolutely essential for a person to attend a limited gathering, they need to be fully vaccinated.
  2. The government has made it mandatory for travellers from South Africa, China, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Botswana, Mauritius and Zimbabwe to produce negative RT-PCR reports before boarding their flights. They must take a second test after landing in India. The decision came amid concerns about the detection of a new variant called C.1.2. 
  3. India recorded 47,092 new coronavirus cases, pushing the infection tally in the country to 3,28,57,937 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The toll rose by 509 to 4,39,529. The active caseload increased to 3,89,583. As many as 3,20,28,825 people have recovered from the disease so far.
  4. The World Health Organization has said that the new coronavirus variant, mu, could be resistant to vaccines, PTI reported. It has been classified as a “variant of concern”. The Mu variant was identified in Columbia in January 2021. Since then, it has been found in UK, Europe, the US and Hong Kong.
  5. Kerala Education Minister V Sivankutty said that the state government is planning to reopen schools, ANI reported. The state is battling a surge in infections. On Thursday, it reported 32,097 new Covid-19 cases and 188 deaths. 
  6. The Karnataka government has revised quarantine norms for passengers travelling from Kerala, PTI reported. Constitutional functionaries, healthcare professionals and their spouses will not have to undergo quarantine for seven days anymore. Children below the age of two, students arriving in Karnataka for exams and individuals who need to attend final rites of their relatives have also been exempted from quarantine. 
  7. Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical firm Biological E is likely to launch its Covid-19 vaccine Corbevax in India in October, NITI Aayog member VK Paul told ANI. The vaccine’s phase 3 trial is under way. 
  8. The American Medical Association said that there must be an immediate end to the use of ivermectin for Covid-19 treatment. “Ivermectin is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for human use to treat infections caused by internal and external parasites,” the association said. “It is not approved to prevent or treat Covid-19.”
  9. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control asked the countries under its umbrella to prioritise primary vaccines instead of booster shots, AP reported. The agency requested countries to preserve doses for people with weaker immune system.
  10. Covid-19 has infected more than 21.86 crore people and led to over 45.46 lakh deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.