10.35 pm: Jharkhand reports 316 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking its tally to 4,562.

10.31 pm: West Bengal closes its legislative assembly premises till July 24 after an employee tests positive for the coronavirus, ANI reports.

10.00 pm: New coronavirus cases reported across states on Wednesday:

Goa: 198 new cases, tally rises to 2,951; toll at 18.

Haryana: 678 new cases, tally rises to 23,306 toll at 319.

9.52 pm: Air India’s offices will begin functioning with full strength from July 20, ANI reports. Employees in the high coronavirus risk groups may be allowed to work from home.

8.48 pm: New cases reported in other states on Wednesday:

Haryana: 678 new cases, tally rises to 23,306; toll at 319.

Manipur: 28 new cases, tally rises to 1,700.

8.45 pm: Maharashtra reports 7,975 coronavirus cases and 233 deaths on Wednesday. The state’s tally rises to 2,75,640 and the toll reaches 10,928.

8.37 pm: Karnataka reports 3,176 new coronavirus cases and 87 deaths on Wednesday. The state’s tally rises to 47,253 and the toll reaches 928.

8.24 pm: Delhi has recorded 1,647 new infections and 41 new deaths, ANI reports. The total number of cases rise to 116,993 including 17,807 active cases, 95,699 recoveries and 3,487 deaths.

8.20 pm: Gujarat reports 925 new cases, its highest rise in a day, according to PTI. The total number of cases is now 44,648, and the toll has risen by 10 to 2,281.

8.10 pm: Mumbai reports 1,390 new cases of the coronavirus, and 62 deaths, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. As many as 1,197 people have recovered on Wednesday. The total number of cases in Mumbai is now 96,253, the number of active cases 22,959, the toll 5,464, and the recoveries 67,830. The recovery rate of Mumbai district is 70%, and the doubling rate is down to 1.34%.

8.07 pm: Karnataka records 3,176 new infections, ANI reports. Of these, 1,975 cases are from Bengaluru, which is under a complete lockdown. As many as 87 deaths have been reported on Wednesday.

7.53 pm: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma says wedding receptions have been banned in East Khasi and Ri Bhoi districts. “Solemnization of marriages in places of worship will be permitted with strict adherence to protocols,” he adds.

7.48 pm: According to PTI, West Bengal records highest single-day spike of 1,589 cases, and 20 fatalities. With this, the toll has reached 1,000.

7.23 pm: Tamil Nadu reports 4,496 new coronavirus cases and 68 deaths on Wednesday. The state’s tally rises to 1,51,820 and the toll reaches 2,167.

7.06 pm: Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar says that the state has been given permission by the Indian Council of Medical Research to study the efficacy of the BCG [Bacillus Calmette–Guérin vaccine] in reducing the coronavirus mortality rate among the elderly. The vaccine is primarily used against tuberculosis.

6.40 pm: The Delhi government will soon launch a third plasma bank at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital, PTI reports, quoting the hospital’s Nodal Officer Binay Bhushan. The Capital’s first two plasma banks were set up at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences and the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital.

6.25 pm: Tripura reported 90 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking its overall count to 2,184, PTI reports.

6.16 pm: Kerala records 623 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, ANI reports, quoting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The state’s tally rises to 9,553.

6.13 pm: Mumbai’s Dharavi slum records 23 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, ANI reports, quoting the city’s civic body. The area’s overall count rises to 2,415, of which 99 are active cases.

6.12 pm: National carrier Air India has started the process of identifying employees, based on various factors like efficiency, health and redundancy, who will be sent on compulsory leave without pay for up to five years, PTI reports.

6.09 pm: The Meghalaya government closes all entry points of the state.

6.07 pm: The civic body adds that Mumbai’s coronavirus facilities presently have 1,053 ventilators in active condition. “Out of these 125 are not in use because Mumbai doesn’t have that many patients who are to be put on ventilators so these are installed but are not in use.”

6.04 pm: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation says it has received 446 ventilators from the Centre so far.

5.49 pm: The national camps for Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams will not resume as planned on July 19 in Bengaluru, PTI reports.

5.11 pm: Delhi’s Saket court grants bail to 200 Indonesians who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in March, in connection with violation of visa norms, PTI reports.

4.59 pm: Japan’s capital Tokyo raises its coronavirus alert to the highest “red” level amid a sharp increase in the number of cases, Reuters reports. Governor Yuriko Koike says the situation in the city is “rather severe”. In Tokyo, the daily coronavirus cases exceeded 200 in four of the past seven days, touching a record of 243 last Friday.

4.55 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says her government will provide jobs to the family members of state government employees in case they die of the coronavirus, PTI reports.

4.50 pm: “We’ve till date sent medicines to nearly 150 countries,” Modi says at the virtual India-EU summit. “We have also taken the initiative to create a joint operation against COVID in our region.”

4.45 pm: “In the post-COVID world, there have been new challenges in the economic world globally,” the prime minister says. “To solve this, democratic countries must come together.”

4.44 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the India-European Union summit.

4.29 pm: Puducherry reports 67 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking its total to 1,596 including 686 active cases and 21 deaths.

4.26 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says 268 police personnel, 30 doctors, 43 nurses and 62 government officials in the state have tested positive for the coronavirus so far, ANI reports.

4.23 pm: One in three small firms around the world was forced to cut jobs to stay open through the coronavirus pandemic in May, Reuters reports, citing a joint survey by Facebook, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Bank.

4.19 pm: British Health Minister Matt Hancock says that the government would not be recommending that people wear face masks in offices, Sky News reports.

4.11 pm: Andhra Pradesh reports 2,432 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. The state’s overall count rises to 35,451. The toll stands at 452.

4.09 pm: Karnataka’s Shivamogga city will go under a partial lockdown from July 16 until further orders, PTI reports. The city has reported 530 coronavirus cases so far.

4.08 pm: A total of 82 Maharashtra police personnel have died of the coronavirus so far, PTI reports.

3.45 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tells Cabinet colleagues to undergo coronavirus tests after a minister tested positive, PTI reports.

3.37 pm: Hospitals in Karnataka have been directed to display a board at the reception center displaying the availability of beds for Covid-19 patients.

3.35 pm: Bihar reports 1,320 more cases in a day, ANI reports. This takes the total number of cases in the state to 20,173.

3.32 pm: A curfew will be observed in Goa between 8 pm and 6 am every day till August 10. Only medical services would be allowed during this period, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant says. A complete lockdown would also be imposed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week, he adds.

1.50 pm: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath meets members of a Covid-19 control team in Lucknow, ANI reports.

1.30 pm: Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and Minister of State Sanjay Dhotre launch “the world’s most affordable probe free RT-PCR based Covid-19 diagnostic kit”.

The low-cost kit, launched by Newtech Medical under the name Corosure, was developed by Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. Pokhriyal congratulates the IIT experts and calls the launch a “historic occasion”.

Corosure’s Managing Director Jatin Goyal says the kit would cost around Rs 650, the Hindustan Times reports. “This certainly makes it very affordable as compared to other probe tests that are being imported from other countries,” he says.

IIT Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao says that this would “change the paradigm of Covid-19 testing in the country”, both in terms of scale and cost. “The company Newtech Medical Devices, using IIT Delhi technology, can do two million tests per month at an extremely affordable cost. This is a true example of lab to market,” he says.

1.20 pm: Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila says it has begun human clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate ZyCoV-D, PTI reports. It had received approval to start phase one and two of human clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine earlier in July.

12.59 pm: Deposed bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of raping a nun in Kerala in 2018, has tested positive for the coronavirus, The Times of India reports.

12.42 pm: Former Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza has recovered from Covid-19 after treatment at home for the dreaded virus since June 20. Mortaza announced the negative result of his Covid-19 test on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

Read more here:

Former Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza recovers from Covid-19 after treatment at home

12.26 pm: The number of hospital beds in Delhi have gone up from 4,100 on June 1 to 15,500 today, Kejriwal says. “Today there are 2,100 ICU beds, of which 1,100 are vacant. Because of this, today people have the confidence that in case they need to be hospitalised, there will be no shortages.”

12.20 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thanks the Centre, NGOs and opposition parties Congress and the BJP for helping the government battle the coronavirus. “As per estimates, 2.25 lakh cases were predicted by 15 July in Delhi but after united efforts, the cases today are half of the prediction. Today we have 1.15 lakh cases,” he says.

11.59 pm: Around 20 employees at the Governor’s House in Bihar have tested positive, ANI reports.

11.55 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tells youngsters to “skill, reskill and upskill” during the pandemic to stay relevant. “During this time of coronavirus pandemic, along with work culture, the nature of job has also changed and the ever-changing new technology has also been affected, but youth is gaining new skills in the changing times,” he adds.

11.08 am: Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Dadasaheb Bhuse ordered an investigation on Tuesday after a private college in Amravati stamped “Covid-19 promoted” on the pass certificates of its students, The Indian Express reports. As many as 242 reports are allegedly ready to be distributed after July 15.

“There were no directives from the state government to certify ‘Covid-19 promoted’ on the certificates issued to students. Who has taken the initiative and why,” Bhuse asked in a letter to the director-general of Maharashtra Council of Agriculture Education and Research and vice-chancellors of agriculture universities.

10.58 am: Rajasthan reports 235 new cases and three deaths in a day, ANI reports. The total number of positive cases in the state rises to 25,806 and the toll now stands at 527.

10.53 am: The capital of Venezuela, Caracas, will go into a lockdown from Wednesday, according to the Guardian. The country has so far confirmed 9,707 cases and 93 deaths.

10.50 am: Tokyo may raise its alert to the highest level following a spike in cases, The Guardian reports.

10.41 am: Germany reports 351 new cases in a day, taking the total to 1,99,726 infections on Wednesday, Reuters reports. The toll now stands at 9,071.

10.38 am: Odisha reports 618 coronavirus cases and 609 recoveries on Tuesday, ANI reports. With this, the total number of cases in the state rises to 14,898, including 9,864 recoveries and 4,933 active cases.

10.33 am: Mexico reports 7,051 new coronavirus cases and 836 deaths in a day, Reuters reports. This takes the total in the country to 3,11,486 cases and 36,327 deaths.

10.26 am: The US has reported more than 900 coronavirus deaths in a day on Tuesday, The New York Times reports.

10.20 pm: Mizoram reports five new coronavirus cases on Tuesday. This takes the total cases in the state to 238, ANI reports.

10.15 pm: Haryana minister Anil Vij says restrictions would be implemented on areas that border Delhi to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Hindustan Times reports.

10.08 am: The director of US’ National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Anthony Fauci, warns people that the coronavirus outbreak could be as bad as the 1918 flu pandemic, The Guardian reports.

10.06 am: The Odisha government will begin plasma therapy for Covid-19 patients at three hospitals from Wednesday. These include the SUM Hospital and KIMS Hospital in Bhubaneswar and Ashwini Hospital in Cuttack.

10.03 am: The Odisha government has deployed 130 doctors and 37 officers from the administrative and revenue services in Ganjam district as coronavirus cases rise. As many as 100 Ayurvedic and homoeopathic medical officers have also been deployed, the Hindustan Times reports.

10 am: Visuals of the lockdown in Pune. The lockdown will be in effect till July 23.

9.57 am: The Rajasthan Police have launched a campaign to check if quarantine norms are being followed at homes of people with Covid-19.

9.53 am: Visuals of the lockdown being observed in Bengaluru. It will be in effect till 5 am on July 22.

9.51 pm: The Indian Council of Medical Research says it has tested 1,24,12,664 samples so far. Of this, 3,20,161 were tested on Tuesday alone.

9.50 am: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said the Indian economy is facing several challenges and we need to find a solution to accelerate growth. “GDP and per capita income expectations are not very good,” he said on Tuesday, according to ANI. “It’s time we need to change economic situation, for that we need support from government and cooperation from entrepreneurs.”

He added: “Experts are predicting a budget deficit of 10 lakh crore with central and state governments for the next year. We need to plan how we can increase liquidity in market and that is a crucial challenge for Indian economy.”

9.40 am: The administration of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin in early stages to a patient with Covid-19 improved their chances of getting better and the time taken, a clinical management study of patients in Kerala has found, The Indian Express reports. The study was conducted by the state medical board. Researchers studied the 500 cases that were reported till the first week of May.

9.15 am: India reports 29,429 new coronavirus cases, taking the total to 9,36,181. This is the highest daily rise in the number of infections. The toll rises by 582 to 24,309. More than 5.92 lakh people have recovered.

8.57 am: New Zealand must prepare for new coronavirus outbreaks, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “No system is 100% fool proof and around the world we are seeing even the most rigorous measures being tested by the virus,” she adds, according to Reuters.

8.40 am: The Authority for Advance Ruling says alcohol-based hand sanitisers will be taxed at 18% Goods and Services rate. The Goa-bench of the AAR adds that merely classifying goods as essential commodity will not be the criteria for exempting them from GST.

Read more here:

Alcohol-based hand sanitisers will be taxed at 18%, rules GST authority

7.28 am: Moderna Covid-19 vaccine enters final stage, reports Bloomberg. The US company will start final-phase trials on 30,000 people on July 27.

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When a Covid-19 vaccine is discovered, will it be freely available and be affordable to all?

7.25 am: The Donald Trump administration rescinds its order denying foreign students US visas, says judge.

Read more here:

Trump administration revokes order to withdraw visas of foreign students attending online classes

7.24 am: Mizoram reports five new cases, taking the total number in the state to 238, says Chief Minister Zoramthanga.

7.21 am: Assam’s tally crosses the 18,000-mark with 859 new cases and six deaths, says Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

7.17 am: Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Dr Balram Bhargava says neither Itolizumab nor Tocilizumab drugs have demonstrated reduction in mortality among Covid-19 patients, reports News18. Bhargava adds that more trials are needed.

7.10 am: Here are the top updates from Tuesday

  • The Union health ministry said that recovery rate in 20 states is more than national average of 63%. Of these states, Uttar Pradesh has a recovery rate of 64%, Odisha 67%, Assam 65%, Gujarat 70%, Tamil Nadu has a recovery rate of 65%. The ministry added that 86% of India’s active coronavirus cases are confined to 10 states.
  • Indian Council for Medical Research Director Dr Balram Bhargava said any vaccine candidate being produced in the world will have to be scaled up by India or by China. “These two countries are major producers of vaccines in the world and India supplies 60% of vaccines to the world that all developed nations are aware of it,” he said. “And therefore, they are in communication with India for the vaccine distribution.” He added that the ICMR is trying to fast-track vaccine development in India amid rising cases.
  • Maharashtra reported 6,741 new coronavirus cases and 213 deaths. The state’s tally rose to 2,67,665 and the toll reached 10,695. Delhi, meanwhile, recorded 1,606 new cases and 35 deaths. The Capital’s tally is now 1,15,346 and the toll 3,446. Tamil Nadu’s tally rose to 1,47,324 with 4,526 new cases. Sixty-seven new deaths pushed the state’s toll to 2,099.
  • The Bihar government announced a complete lockdown in the state from July 16 to July 31. Essential services, however, will be exempted. Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru went under a complete lockdown from Tuesday till July 22. Dakshina Kannada district, meanwhile, will be put under a week-long lockdown from July 15. The district includes Mangalore, Sullia, Puttur, Belthangady, Moodabidri, Bantwal and Kadaba areas. West Bengal extended lockdown in containment zones till July 19.
  • Bengaluru-based Biocon Limited’s drug, Itolizumab, that was allowed for emergency use for the coronavirus was cleared after a randomised clinical trial of just 30 patients across four centres, the company said.
  • World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the failures of some leaders to stop their countries’ spiraling outbreaks mean there would be no return to normal “for the foreseeable future”. Without taking any names, he said “too many countries are headed in the wrong direction” with the pandemic.
  • American industrial conglomerate 3M Co announced a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop a rapid antigen test for the coronavirus. The test is expected to produce results within minutes.