Here are the top updates from Friday

  1. The Punjab government said that it will send employees who have not taken even one Covid-19 vaccine dose for any reason, except on medical grounds, on compulsory leave after September 15. At a review meeting, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh cited data that pointed to the effectiveness of vaccines. On Thursday, the Centre had announced that one vaccine dose proved to be 96.6% effective in preventing death due to Covid-19 while two shots showed 97.5% efficacy.
  2. India on Friday recorded 34,973 new Covid-19 infections, pushing the cumulative tally of cases since the outbreak of the pandemic in January last year to 3,31,74,954. The country’s toll rose by 260 to 4,42,009.
  3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to review the Covid-19 situation in the country and the progress of vaccination. More than 72 crore vaccine doses have been administered in India since the beginning of the inoculation drive on January 16.
  4. Meanwhile, the health ministry unveiled a new feature called “Know Your Customer or Client’s Vaccination Status” on the CoWin platform that will allow service providers and employers to check whether or not an individual is vaccinated. Beneficiaries will authorise this. “It [the feature] is both consent-based and privacy preserving,” ministry said.
  5. Kerala recorded 25,010 new coronavirus cases and 177 deaths on Friday. The state’s cumulative tally of cases rose to 4,33,4704, while the toll went up to 22,303. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he was considering re-opening schools and was discussing the matter with experts, ANI reported.
  6. The United Arab Emirates lifted its travel ban on visa holders from India and 14 countries, PTI reported. The travellers have to be fully vaccinated with shots authorised by the World Health Organisation.
  7. One of the scientists who helped develop the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine said that among fully-inoculated people, immunity against Covid-19 seemed to be “lasting well”, The Telegraph reported. Professor Sarah Gilbert said that not everyone will need to take booster shots. “We will look at each situation; the immunocompromised and elderly will receive boosters,” she added.
  8. Daily coronavirus cases in Australia crossed 1,900 for the first time on Friday, Reuters reported. The state of New South Wales, the epicentre of the outbreak, reported a record 1,542 new cases in the last day.
  9. Sri Lanka extended its Covid-induced lockdown till September 21 in view of the continuing fourth wave of the pandemic, The Hindu reported. Forty-six percent of the country’s population is fully vaccinated.
  10. Globally, Covid-19 has infected more than 22.31 crore people and led to over 46.04 lakh deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.