10.54 pm: New cases in other states:

Punjab: 1,746 new cases, tally rises to 47,836; toll at 1,256 deaths.

Goa: 456 new cases, tally rises to 15,483; toll at 171.

10.52 pm: West Bengal reports 2,997 new cases on Thursday, taking its tally to 1,50,772. The state’s toll rises by 53 to 3,017.

10.47 pm: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren urges Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal to postpone JEE and NEET exams.

10.36 pm: The World Health Organization says it is looking into whether “observed irregularities” in a coronavirus swab test kit manufactured by China-based BGI Biotechnology (Wuhan) were linked to the way it was used in Sweden, Reuters reports. The development comes a day after Sweden said that about 3,700 people received false positive results due to a fault in the test kit.

10.33 pm: Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba directs Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to ramp up Covid-19 testing since they have a high death rate.

10.27 pm: The home ministry denies allegations that it pressurised the Delhi government to increase coronavirus testing. “The letter of the Delhi Health Minister [Satyendar Jain] has annexed a note of the officers of the Delhi Government,” the home ministry said in a tweet. “It may be noted that this note has made no mention whatsoever of any instruction of MHA on the matter of increase in testing in Delhi.”

8.42 pm: Tamil Nadu’s tally crosses four lakh mark with 5,981 new coronavirus cases, reports PTI. The state now has 4,03,242 cases, while the toll touched 6,948 with 109 more fatalities.

8.40 pm: Delhi records 1,840 new coronavirus cases and 22 deaths today. The city’s total count increases to 1,67,604 and the toll stands at 4,369. This is the highest number of daily new cases in August now.

8.38 pm: Maharashtra reports 14,718 new coronavirus cases, taking the state’s tally to 7,33,568 of whom 1,78,234 cases are active. With 355 more deaths,the toll rises to 23,444.

8.35 pm: The Punjab government says lockdown has been imposed in the state from 7 pm to 5 am on all days to contain the coronavirus spread, reports ANI.

8.33 pm: Ten members the Great Andamanese tribe, a particularly vulnerable tribal group, have tested positive for the coronavirus, reports AFP. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with a population of some 4,00,000, has reported 2,268 coronavirus cases so far with 37 deaths.

Out of the 10 members of the tribe, six have recovered and have been put in home quarantine, while the rest are undergoing treatment in a local hospital, officials tells AFP.

8.28 pm: Kerala records 2,406 new coronavirus cases and 10 deaths today, according to PTI. This takes the total number of those infected by the virus in the state to 66,760. With 10 more fatalities, the toll is at 267. The state health department in a release says till now 43,761 people have been cured 22,673 are under treatment.

6.06 pm: Kolkata Metro Railway spokesperson Indrani Banerjee says they will restart services after receiving the go-ahead from the Union Home Ministry and the Railway Ministry, reports PTI. The services were stopped as the nationwide lockdown began in March to control the spread of the coronavirus.

6 pm: Andhra Pradesh adds 10,621 more coronavirus cases, pushing the state’s tally to 3,93,090, according to ANI. With 92 more deaths, the toll rises to 3,633.

5.15 pm: Pandey says the finance ministry also consulted Attorney General KK Venugopal for his legal opinion on GST collection and compensation. Venugopal told the government that the states had to be paid GST compensation for a transition period from July 2017 to June 2022, he adds.

5.05 pm: Some of the options that the GST Council considered to pay off the states include borrowing from the Reserve Bank of India, ANI reports. “Option one presented to GST Council was to provide a special window to states, in consultation with the RBI, to provide Rs 97,000 crores at a reasonable interest rate,” says Finance Secretary Ajay Pandey. “Option two was that the entire GST compensation gap of Rs 2,35,000 crore of this year can be met by states, in consultation with RBI.”

5.00 pm: Sitharaman says the coronavirus pandemic was “an act of God” and an unforeseen factor that affected GST collections, NDTV reports. She was speaking after a meeting of the GST Council held amid severe pressure from state governments that have been seeking compensation for the revenue shortfall because of Covid-19.

4.58 pm: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman says the Centre has released over Rs 1,65 lakh crore as GST compensation to states for the fiscal year of 2020, including Rs 13,806 crore for March, NDTV reports. She adds that the amount of cess collected for GST compensation was Rs 95,444 crore, while Rs 1.65 lakh crore has been paid to states.

4.56 pm: The Ministry of Finance says the coronavirus pandemic has created a deficit of Rs 2.35 lakh-crore for the 2020-’21 fiscal year.


4.55 pm: The Goods and Services Tax  collection has been severely impacted due to coronavirus pandemic this year, says Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, after the 41st GST Council meeting, ANI reports. “As per GST Compensation Law, states need to be given compensation,” he adds.

4.47 pm: The Supreme Court refuses to entertain a plea challenging the order of Madras High Court, which stayed the single bench direction restraining Patanjali Ayurved from using the trademark “Coronil”, Live Law reports. The petitioner, Arudra Engineers, claimed that “Coronil” is a trademark owned by the firm since 1993.

3.55 pm: Uttar Pradesh Cabinet minister Sidharth Nath Singh says he has tested positive for the coronavirus. Singh says he is under self-isolation and urges all those who had come in contact with him over the past few days to get tested.

3.45 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa says Metro services in Bengaluru will be restarted soon, reports PTI. “Despite Covid-19 pandemic normalcy in public life is being restored step by step,” he adds. “Taking all the necessary precautionary measures, Metro services will be restarted soon.”

3.33 pm: The Delhi High Court says five of its benches will start holding physical hearings on a rotation basis from September 1 and issues standard operating procedure for the same, reports PTI.

The high court, which has been conducting hearings via video conferencing since March 24 to contain the spread of the coronavirus, said the remaining benches shall continue taking up matters online. According to the standard operating procedure, the entry in the court blocks for the purpose of attending physical hearings will be restricted to only one advocate per party whose case is listed that day and party-in-person who is pursuing his/her case without any legal assistance.

Meanwhile, juniors, interns or law students associated with the advocate concerned, relative of any litigant and non-registered clerks will not be allowed entry in the court blocks.

2.45 pm: A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde declines a petition to hold Muharram procession, says it will lead to chaos and a “particular community may be targeted for spreading the virus” amid the pandemic, reports Live Law.

2.18 pm: PV Bharathi, AIADMK MLA representing the Sirkazhi Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu, has tested positive for the coronavirus, reports The Hindu.

2.15 pm: The health ministry has recommended that all newly-diagnosed tuberculosis patients or those currently on treatment should be tested for the coronavirus, reports PTI. “Tuberculosis is associated with a 2.1-fold increased risk of severe Covid-19 disease,” it has said in a letter.

2.12 pm: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has written an open letter opposing the Narendra Modi government’s decision to hold NEET and JEE exams amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports PTI. He questions who will be held responsible if students contract the infection.

“Funny and illogical things are being spread by the BJP that when people can come out for other work, why can’t they give exams,” Yadav says in the letter. “It has forgotten that people are moving out in compulsion and even those who want to stay at home to save themselves are now being forced to come out of their homes in the name of examinations.”

1.46 pm: Rajasthan records 633 new coronavirus cases and six deaths on Thursday, pushing the state’s tally to 75,303 and the toll to 988, PTI reports.

1.13 pm: The National Human Rights Commission writes to the Director General, and Inspector General of Prison of all the states and Union Territories, seeking a report on the medical infrastructure and practices followed by them to contain the coronavirus outbreak in jails.

12.59 pm: As many as 106 personnel of the Maharashtra Police test positive for the coronavirus in 24 hours on Thursday, pushing the tally of infections in the force to 14,295, ANI reports. The toll rises by two to 146.

12.58 pm: The number of coronavirus cases in Thane, Maharashtra rises to 1,17,739, after 1,326 more infections were recorded on Thursday, PTI reports.

12.57 pm: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik speaks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over phone and requests him to postpone NEET and JEE, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the flood situation in the state, PTI reports, quoting a senior official.

12.55 pm: Pakistan’s tally of coronavirus cases rises to 2,94,638, after 445 new cases were detected in 24 hours on Thursday, PTI reports. The toll rises by six to 6,274.

12.53 pm: Odisha registers its biggest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases, with 3,384 cases reported in 24 hours on Thursday, PTI reports. The toll from the disease mounts to 448 after seven more fatalities were recorded. The state’s tally of coronavirus cases is now 90,986.

12.51 pm: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court dismisses a plea seeking the declaration of funds received by the Prime Minister’s Citizens Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situation, or PM CARES, PTI reports.

12.50 pm: The Andhra University announces it will start online classes from the third week of September for students amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Hindu reports.

11.22 am: “We have not exhausted our ammunition, whether on rate cuts or other policy actions” to overcome the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das says.

11.17 am: Das says the Reserve Bank of India will start giving its estimates on inflation and growth once there is clarity on the transmission curve of Covid-19 in the country.

11.12 am: The RBI governor adds that a “complete relook at strategy in banking” is the need of the hour. “Indian banks can reap benefits by scaling up,” he says at a webinar organised by The Business Standard.

11.09 am: Das says the Indian banking system overall continues to be stable. “Once the coronavirus pandemic is fully controlled, RBI will look at very careful, very calibrated unwinding of emergency measures it put in place during the pandemic,” he adds.

11.07 am: Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das says the Covid-19 pandemic continues to put the world on the edge. “As the pandemic ravages on, the impact on the economy is hard to measure,” Das says at a webinar organised by The Business Standard.


10.52 am: Amid the Covid-19 pandemic and widespread school closures, at least one-third of students affected around the world lack access to virtual education, according to a report by the United Nations. In all, an estimated 463 million (46.3 crore) children lack the equipment or electronic access to pursue distance learning, the report says.

10.47 am: South Korea’s parliament closes on Thursday and a group of lawmakers go into self-quarantine, after a photojournalist, who covered a ruling party meeting on Wednesday was later confirmed to have contracted Covid-19, AFP reports.

10.41 am: Researches at the Fujita Health University in Japan on Wednesday said they had proven that low concentrations of ozone can neutralise coronavirus particles, potentially providing a way for hospitals to disinfect examination rooms and waiting areas, Reuters reports.

10.36 am: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asserts that a strategy to ensure fair and inclusive access to the coronavirus vaccine in India should have been in place by now and that the government’s alleged “unpreparedness is alarming”. Gandhi shares a tweet by him from August 14 in which, he demanded that the government should clearly define an inclusive and equitable vaccine access policy to ensure its affordability and fair distribution. “But there are still no signs of it,” he says.

10.34 am: Abbott Laboratories said on Wednesday it has secured marketing authorisation in the United States for a Covid-19 portable antigen test that can deliver results within 15 minutes and will sell for $5, Reuters reports.

10.31 am: Clinical trials of Covishield, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, will be launched at two institutions in Chennai – the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital and the Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Porur – the Tamil Nadu government said in a release on Wednesday, The Hindu reports.

10.28 am: Mizoram records seven new cases of the coronavirus as of 7 am on Thursday, taking the state’s tally to 974, ANI reports.

10.24 am: A total of 3,85,76,510 samples have been tested for the coronavirus in the country so far, of which, 9,24,998 samples were tested on Wednesday, the Indian Council of Medical Research says.

10.23 am: Telangana registered 2,795 new coronavirus cases, 872 recoveries and eight deaths on Wednesday, pushing the state’s tally to 1,14,483, ANI reports. The toll rises to 788 and the number of recoveries recorded are 86,095.

10.19 am: The mayor of Moscow invited residents Wednesday to join trials of a coronavirus vaccine that Russia approved for use earlier this month, AP reports. The vaccine, known as Sputnik V, has been developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

10.12 am: The Donald Trump administration defends the new guidelines for testing in the United States, which state that testing may not be needed for asymptomatic close contacts and those who attended large, risky gatherings but lack symptoms, Bloomberg reports. White House official Brett Giroir says the change is intended to clarify to the public the limitations of such screenings, and not to reduce how many tests are conducted.

10.10 am: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday approved a special assistance package of Rs 200 crore for the poor and extremely poor families in the state who have been adversely affected by the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19, the Hindustan Times reports.

10.08 am: All places of worship in Rajasthan will reopen for public from September 7, months after they were closed due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, PTI reports. The decision was taken during a review meeting on the situation in the state chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

9.22 am: India’s overall case count rises to 33,10,234 with 75,760 new infections in the last 24 hours. The country’s toll goes up by 1,023 to 60,472. As many as 25,23,771 people have recovered from the infection in the country.

8.12 am: The Indian Council of Medical Research has said that its Twitter handle was compromised on Wednesday, The Indian Express reports. The medical body has said that it was observed that some tweets criticising the government were “liked” from the ICMR’s official Twitter handle. The matter is being rectified, the medical research body says.

8.07 am: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare says early identification of coronavirus infections through aggressive testing, comprehensive surveillance and contact tracing, and focus on timely and efficient clinical treatment of patients have ensured a high number of recoveries, ANI reports. It adds that this has also kept the case fatality rate low.

8.02 am: Experts at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences say Covid-19 can affect all organs of the body, the Hindustan Times reports. They say that classification of cases into mild, moderate and severe categories based on respiratory symptoms is inadequate. Involvement of other organs should also be considered.

“We have seen many patients who presented features which are predominantly pulmonary but extrapulmonary manifestations,” AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria says.

7.58 am: West Bengal also tells the ministry that restriction on flights coming in from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Chennai and Ahmedabad is being partially lifted from September 1. Flights can land at airports in West Bengal thrice a week.

7.52 am: The West Bengal government tells the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation in a letter to ensure that no flight landing or taking off from any airport in the state on September 7, 11 and 12, as the state will observe a complete lockdown on these days, ANI reports.

7.48 am: Here are the top updates from Wednesday:

  • India’s tally of coronavirus cases on Wednesday rose to 32,34,474 with 67,151 new cases in the last 24 hours. The country’s toll rose by 1,059 to 59,449. As many as 24,67,758 people have recovered from the infection in the country.
  • Maharashtra recorded its highest single-day increase of 14,888 new coronavirus cases in the evening, pushing its tally to 7,18,711. The state also reported 295 more deaths, taking its toll to 23,089. Meanwhile, Delhi witnessed the highest number of daily new cases in August after 1,693 cases were reported. The total number of cases in the city stood at 1,65,764. Uttar Pradesh also recorded highest single-day rise of 5,898 new coronavirus cases, taking the state’s tally to 2,03,020. With 82 deaths, the toll rose to 3,141.
  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said flights from six coronavirus-hotspot states will resume from next month. To tackle the health crisis, the state government had imposed a ban till August 31 on passenger flights to Kolkata from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Nagpur and Ahmedabad.
  •   Congress chief Sonia Gandhi attacked the Narendra Modi government for not clearing Goods and Services Tax compensation dues that it owes to states, leading to financial crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic. “This refusal to compensate the states is nothing short of betrayal on the part of the Modi government, betrayal of state governments and the people of India,” Gandhi said at a virtual meeting of chief ministers.  
  •   Indian Medical Association General Secretary RV Asokan said the toll from the coronavirus among doctors has risen from 196 to 273 in the two weeks since the medical body wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to provide adequate healthcare to frontline workers. However, the doctors are yet to receive a response from the central government, he said.
  • At least five members of the Great Andamanese tribe in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have tested positive for the coronavirus, human rights organisation Survival International said. Of the five, two have been admitted to hospital, it added.