10.56 pm: The Meghalaya government issues an order to shut entry points of the state in Byrnihat, Ratacherra, Bajengdoba, Tikrikilla, Mirjumla and Hallidayganj from August 31 midnight till September 7, ANI reports.

10.54 pm: Jharkhand registers 955 new coronavirus cases and six deaths on Friday, ANI reports. With this, the state’s tally rises to 28,196 and the toll stands at 297.

10.46 pm: Maharashtra records 14,161 new cases, 11,749 recoveries and 339 deaths on Friday, ANI reports. With this, the state’s tally of coronavirus cases rises to 6,57,450 and the toll stands at 21,698.

10.40 pm: World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he hopes the coronavirus crisis can be over in less than two years, Reuters reports. “Our situation now with more technology, of course with more connectiveness, the virus has a better chance of spreading, it can move fast,” he told a media briefing. “At the same time we have the technology and knowledge to stop it. So we hope to finish this pandemic [in] less than two years.”

10.06 pm: Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddha Nagar records 127 new cases, pushing the district’s case count to 6,901, reports PTI.

9.59 pm: Mizoram’s coronavirus tally rises to 895 with 21 new cases, reports PTI.

9.46 pm: Punjab records 34 more Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours, taking the toll to 991. The state’s tally reaches 39,327 with 1,513 fresh cases, reports PTI.

9 pm: Madhya Pradesh records 1,147 new cases, taking the state’s tally to 50,640, reports ANI. This includes 10,928 active cases, 1,185 deaths and 38,527 recoveries.

8.58 pm: Haryana reports 1,203 new Covid-19 cases, 620 recoveries and seven deaths, according to ANI. The total number of coronavirus cases stands at 52,129, of which 8,131 are active and 585 people have died.

8.56 pm: Mumbai records 1,406 new coronavirus cases, 1,235 recoveries and 42 deaths, reports ANI. The city’s overall tally rises to 1,34,223, including 18,297 active cases, 1,08,268 recoveries and 7,353 deaths.

8.50 pm: Covid-19 tally in Mumbai’s Dharavi locality rises to 2,700 with three new cases, reports PTI, citing the city’s civic body.

8.49 pm: Gujarat reports highest one-day rise of 1,204 coronavirus cases, taking the state’s tally to 84,466, reports PTI. The toll goes up by 14 to 2,869.

8.46 pm: Ahmedabad district’s coronavirus tally rises to 29,841 with 179 new cases, reports PTI, citing the health department. The toll rises by three to 1,677.

8.00 pm: Karnataka records 7,571 coronavirus cases and 93 deaths on Friday, taking the state’s tally to 2,64,546 and the toll to 4,522, ANI reports.

7.40 pm: The Delhi government discontinues with immediate effect the scheme of turning banquet halls in the city into healthcare facilities, ANI reports. These halls were linked to designated government-run Covid-19 hospitals of the Capital.

6.55 pm: Delhi records 1,250 coronavirus cases, 1,082 recoveries and 13 deaths on Friday, ANI reports, quoting the daily health bulletin. With this, the city’s tally rises to 1,58,604 and the toll stands at 4,270. As many as 1,42,908 people have been discharged from hospitals after recovering from the disease, so far.

6.50 pm: Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh appeals to public to avoid large gatherings on Ganesh Chaturthi this year, in light of the coronavirus pandemic. He also asks members of the Muslim community to observe Muharram, which falls at the end of the month, in a simple manner.

6.43 pm: Tamil Nadu registers 5,995 new coronavirus cases, 5,764 recoveries and 101 deaths on Friday, pushing the state’s tally to 3,67,430 and the toll to 6,340, ANI reports. As many has 3,07,677 people have recovered so far.

6.40 pm: The British government’s debt breaches the 2 trillion pound-mark for the first time, as the country had to resort to heavy borrowing to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, AP reports. The increase also means that the country’s debt is now higher than the value of its economic output.

6.36 pm: Jammu and Kashmir records 654 new coronavirus cases on Friday, pushing the Union Territory’s tally to 31,371, ANI reports. The toll from the disease is 593.

6.33 pm: Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja says the state recorded 1,983 new coronavirus cases, 1,419 recoveries and 12 deaths on Friday, ANI reports. There are 18,673 active cases and as many as 35,247 people in the state have recovered so far, she adds.

6.19 pm: The Haryana government announces that all offices and shops will remain closed in the state every Saturday and Sunday, ANI reports. Health Minister Anil Vij, however, adds that shops selling essential items will be exempted from the order.

6.07 pm: Uttar Pradesh reports 4,991 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, taking the state’s tally to 1,77,239, PTI reports. With 66 more fatalities, the toll rises to 2,797.

6.04 pm: Two pilgrims of the Vaishno Devi temple have tested positive for the coronavirus in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, Reasi Deputy Commissioner Indu Chib says, according to ANI. Both of them are residents of Bihar, he says. The temple was reopened for pilgrimage on August 16, nearly five months after it was suspended in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

6.00 pm: Researchers in Singapore have discovered a new variant of the coronavirus that causes milder infections, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal this week. The study showed that Covid-19 patients infected with a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 had better clinical outcomes, including a lower proportion developing low blood oxygen or requiring intensive care.

5.57 pm: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announces the city will offer a free coronavirus test to all 7.5 million (75 lakh) residents next month, AFP reports. “There is still quite a number of silent transmitters in the community,” she says. “So the more that we could test... the earlier we could find the remaining outstanding cases,”

5.36 pm: Andhra Pradesh records 9,544 new coronavirus cases, 8,827 recoveries and 91 deaths on Friday, ANI reports. With this, the state’s tally of infections rises to 3,34,940 and the toll stands at 3,092. As many has 2,44,045 people have recovered so far.

4.38 pm: The Dhanbad Divisional Railway Divisional Manager’s office in Jharkhand has been closed till Sunday for sanitisation, after 27 employees tested positive for Covid-19, PTI reports.

4.33 pm: The Election Commission of India issues guidelines for conducting elections during the coronavirus pandemic, ANI reports. The rules will be applicable for both Assembly and bye-elections.

The poll body said door-to-door campaigns will be allowed only with five people, candidates can file nominations online and that voters will be provided hand gloves before they vote. A sufficient number of gloves will also be provided to each official handling the electronic voting machine.

Meanwhile, the option of postal ballot facility has been extended to electors who are marked as “persons with disabilities”, are above the age of 80 years, are employed in notified essential services, and to those who are Covid-19 positive/possibly infected.

4.29 pm: The United Kingdom’s state-funded National Health Service issues an urgent call for people of Indian and South Asian heritage who have recovered from Covid-19 to donate their plasma to help save lives of others infected with the virus, PTI reports.

4.14 pm: Hong Kong bars all Air India passenger flights till August-end, after 14 passengers who travelled from Delhi to the region on August 14, tested positive for the coronavirus, PTI reports.

“A flight operated by Air India (AI314) arriving Hong Kong from India on August 14 had 11 passengers confirmed to have infected with Covid-19,” a spokesperson of the Department of Health of the Hong Kong government tells the news agency. “As a result the department invoked the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H) on August 17 to prohibit landing of passenger flights operated by Air India for two weeks from August 18 to 31 in Hong Kong.”

4.09 pm: Meghalaya’s coronavirus tally rises to 1,716 after 55 more people tested positive for the virus on Friday, PTI reports.

4.05 pm: The Madras High Court upholds the Tamil Nadu government’s order to ban all Ganesh Chaturthi proccessions in the state in view of the coronavirus outbreak, ANI reports. The court says only individuals will be allowed to immerse idols on the day of the festival.

2.55 pm: Nine personnel deployed for Lalu Prasad Yadav’s security in Ranchi test positive for the coronavirus, ANI reports.

2.05 pm: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation makes institutional isolation compulsory for all Covid-19 patients above the age of 50, PTI reports.

1.53 pm: The Supreme Court allows three Jain temples in Mumbai to hold prayers for two days, Bar and Bench reports.

12.53 pm: It is no longer mandatory for people in Beijing to wear masks outdoors, reports Reuters. This comes as the city witnesses zero cases for 13 consecutive days.

12.51 pm: Actor Dilip Kumar’s brother Aslam Khan dies of Covid-19 in Mumbai, Lilavati Hospital has confirmed to Hindustan Times. He had diabetes, hypertension and ischaemic heart disease.

12.49 pm: Kolkata (Central Division) Additonal Commissioner of Police Uday Shankar Banerjee dies.

12.47 pm: Arunachal Pradesh’s tally crosses the 3,000-mark with 116 fresh infections, including 36 security personnel.

12.46 pm: The Maharashtra Police records 303 new cases and 5 deaths in the last 24 hours.

12.44 pm: Odisha’s tally rises to 72,718 with 2,698 new cases. The state’s toll is 390.

12.41 pm: Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana KP Singh says “latest corona negative report” will be mandatory for ministers, MLAs, officers and employees for attending the Vidhan Sabha session that begins on August 28.

12.40 pm: Puducherry registers 313 new cases and 6 deaths in the last 24 hours. With this, the tally is now 9,594 including 143 deaths.

11.25 am: A complete lockdown has been enforced across West Bengal for the second consecutive day, reports PTI. All public transport, government and private offices, banks and other commercial establishments, barring those dealing with essential services, are closed.

11.20 am: Rajasthan records 695 new coronavirus cases and five deaths today, according to ANI. The total positive cases in the state is now at 67,314 and the toll has risen to 926.

10.01 am: West Bengal Police personnel on duty in Kharagpur as state observes bi-weekly lockdown.

9.59 am: World Bank President David Malpass warns that the pandemic may drive 100 million people back into extreme poverty as per a new estimate. He also talks about debt restructuring. “The debt vulnerabilities are high, and the imperative of getting light at the end of the tunnel so that new investors can come in is substantial,” Malpass adds.

9.54 am: France will reopen schools from September 1 despite a surge in new cases, AP reprts citing President Emmanuel Macron. The country’s national health agency reports 4,771 new infections on Thursday.

9.51 am: Jacinda Ardern hits back at Donald Trump for suggesting that the outbreak in New Zealand is getting out of control, reports The Guardian. She adds that her country had one of the lowest Covid death rates in the world – especially compared to the US.

9.49 am: Singer SP Balasubrahmanyam continues to be on life support, says his son SP Charan in a video message. “There has not been any development in my father’s health conditions so far,” he says. “So, I realise there is not much to update. But again, like I said, we are keeping the hope alive and the faith alive. And we are confident that all the prayers that are being showered upon him and his family are definitely going to help him recover as early as possible.”

9.44 am: Gujarat Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi says the World Health Organisation has praised the state’s efforts to contain the spread of infection. Around 20 WHO experts from India and Geneva held an online session during which Gujarat officials gave a detailed presentation, according to PTI. “The WHO appreciated the efforts we have all put in to contain the spread of the virus in the state,” Ravi adds. “WHO experts lauded the role played by people, political leadership, officials and private as well as public health practitioners.”

9.40 am: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has launched a first-of-its-kind video game to spread awareness about Covid-19, PTI reports. The video game is called ‘’The Corona Fighters’’. “[It] presents a new and extremely creative way to teach people the right tools and behaviours to fight the Covid-19 pandemic,” Vardhan had said.

9.10 am: India’s coronavirus tally crossed the 29-lakh mark on Friday morning. With 68,898 new cases in 24 hours, the count rose to 29,05,823, while the toll increased by 983 to 54,849. There are now 6,92,028 active cases in India, while as many as 21,58,946 people have recovered.

8.10 am: Testing in India has steeply increased to more than 9 lakh tests per day, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare says, according to ANI.

8 am: Russia, meanwhile, says it will test its Sputnik-V vaccine, which has already been approved even without phase 3 trials, on 40,000 volunteers, according to Reuters.

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7.50 am: Johnson & Johnson plans to test its experimental vaccine on up to 60,000 volunteers in September, Reuters reports.

“We can confirm that planning and recruitment is underway for our Phase 3 program, which is subject to interim data of the Phase 1/2a trials and approval of regulators,” a Johnson & Johnson spokesperson says. “Our Phase 3 program is intended to be as robust as possible, could include up to 60,000 participants and will be conducted in places with high incidence rates.” The company is looking at 180 sites in countries such as the US, Brazil and Mexico.

7.40 am: A study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research has found that gargled water may be an alternative to swabs for the collection of Covid-19 samples, ANI reports.

7.35 am: The global coronavirus tally rose to 2,25,93,363, while the toll crossed 7.929 lakh, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s tracker. More than 1.44 crore people have recovered from the infection so far.

7.30 am: Here are the top updates from Thursday:

  1. India’s coronavirus tally rose to 28,36,925 on Thursday morning as 69,652 new cases were reported in 24 hours. This is the highest single-day increase in cases. The toll increased by 977 to 53,866.
  2. Maharashtra reported its biggest one-day rise of 14,492 new cases, taking its tally to 6,43,289. The state’s toll rose to 21,359 after it reported 326 more deaths. Tamil Nadu reported 5,986 new cases and 116 deaths, taking the state’s tally to 3,61,435 and the toll to 6,239. Andhra Pradesh, meanwhile, registered 9,742 new cases and 95 deaths. With this, the state’s tally rose to 3.25 lakh and the toll stood at 3,001.
  3. The Meghalaya government decided to shut all points of entry to the state for one week every month, starting September till November. The Punjab government has ordered a daily 7 pm to 5 am night curfew in the state and lockdown on weekends amid rising coronavirus cases. Bihar, meanwhile, fixed treatment costs at private hospitals.
  4. Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said he tested positive for the coronavirus.
  5. A new serological survey conducted by the Delhi government revealed that 29% of people in the national Capital may have been exposed to the coronavirus. These individuals were asymptomatic and may have quietly recovered from Covid-19, given the presence of antibodies in their bodies. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia directed the excise department to issue “necessary permission” for the sale of liquor in restaurants and clubs across the Capital. However, bars will remain shut.
  6. As many as 26 volunteers who helped the passengers of the Air India Express plane that crashed in Kozhikode airport on August 7 have tested positive for the coronavirus. Eighteen people including both pilots were killed in the aviation disaster.
  7. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reiterated his attack on the Narendra Modi-led government and warned that India will not be able to provide jobs to its youth because of the severe economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. He claimed that his predictions would come true within six to seven months.
  8. Chinese newspapers defended images of a pool party at an amusement park in Wuhan, the original epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. While people could be seen wearing swimsuits and life jackets at the Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park, none of them donned a mask. Reports said that the individuals attended an electronic music dance festival at the park.