10.52 pm: Read the top updates of the day here.

9.48 pm: Hong Kong has banned all Air India and Vistara flights from October 17 to October 30 after a few passengers on their flights tested positive for the coronavirus after their arrival, PTI reports. This is the third time that Air India flights from India have been banned by the Hong Kong government for bringing passengers who tested positive for the infection.

According to rules established by the Hong Kong government, passengers from India can arrive in Hong Kong only if they have a Covid-19 negative certificate from a test done within 72 hours prior to the journey.

9.31 pm: Forty-eight new cases have been reported from Ladakh, taking the total number of cases to 5,441. The total number of active cases stands at 915.

9.10 pm: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation says Mumbai has recorded 1,823 cases of the coronavirus today, and 1,644 discharges. Thirty-seven patients died today, taking the toll to 9,635.

8.53 pm: Madhya Pradesh has reported 1,352 new cases and 25 deaths today, according to ANI. Total cases in the state rise to 1,57,936 including 2,735 deaths and 1,41,273 recoveries. Active cases stand at 13,928.

8.33 pm: Haryana records 1,277 new cases, 1,139 discharges and 11 deaths on Friday.

5.54 pm: Tripura registers 162 new Covid-19 cases, taking the state’s tally to 29,193, reports PTI. The toll rises by 4 to reach 320.

8 pm: Maharashtra reports 11,447 new cases of the coronavirus, 13,885 discharges and 306 deaths. The total number of cases now stands at 15,76,062 including 13,44,368 discharges, 1,89,715 active cases and 41,502 deaths.

7.47 pm: Karnataka records 7,542 new cases, 73 deaths and 8,580 recoveries, according to ANI.

7.22 pm: The Manipur government says just 337 new cases and five deaths have been reported today.

5.47 pm: United States President Donald Trump says that lockdowns imposed by various states across the country to contain the coronavirus infection were “unconstitutional”, reports PTI. Trump also defends not wearing a mask, saying he is not averse to wearing one but “people with masks are catching it all the time.”

5.42 pm: An official says the coronavirus recovery rate in Maharashtra’s Thane district is nearing 90%, reports PTI. The death rate stands at 2.53%.

5.34 pm: The United States Covid-19 cases cross 8 million or 80 lakh, rising by 1 million (10 lakh) in less than a month, according to Reuters. More than 2,17,000 people have died in the country because of the infection.

5.25 pm: Pharmaceutical company Pfizer expects to submit safety data and file for seeking authorisation of its Covid-19 vaccine in late November, according to Reuters. It is developing with German partner BioNTech.

5:18 pm: Bihar minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Kapil Deo Kamat dies due to the coronavirus infection, reports the Hindustan Times. He is the second minister in Nitish Kumar’s Cabinet to die due to the infection after Minister of Backward Classes and Extremely Backward Class Welfare Department Vinod Singh.

5.15 pm: The Calcutta High Court directs Durga Puja organisers to spend 75% of the Rs 50,000 grant given to them by the state government on procuring Covid-19 personal protection equipment and the rest on strengthening public-police bonding, reports The Times of India.

5.06 pm: Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin leaves the European Union summit in Belgium as a
“precautionary measure” after meeting with country’s legislator Tom Packalen, who tested positive for the coronavirus, reports AP. Marin says she was going home to get tested for the infection.

4.59 pm: United States President Donald Trump says he has no remaining symptoms from the coronavirus but acknowledges that doctors found that his lungs were a little bit infected when he was hospitalised, AP reported.

4.12 pm: The health ministry says India has one of the lowest deaths per million population which stands at 81 today. Less than 1,100 deaths have been reported continuously since October 2.

4.07 pm: The Indian Council of Medical Research begins the third round of sero survey in Bhubaneswar city from today.

4.03 pm: Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad tests positive for coronavirus. He has quarantined himself at home.

2.40 pm: Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani justifies restrictions placed on Navratri events in Gujarat due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying his government gave priority to public health over celebrations, reports The Hindu.

1.39 pm: Vietnam cancels its 2020 Formula One Grand Prix in view of the coronavirus pandemic, reports AFP. The organisers have not yet issued a new date for the race.

1.30 pm: The fourth edition of Ultimate Table Tennis is postponed to next year over health and safety concerns of players amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports PTI. The league was originally set to be held in India from August 14 to 31.

1.27 pm: Odisha reports 2,138 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the state’s tally to 2,64,149, reports ANI. The toll stands at 1,104 with 15 new fatalities and the number of active cases is 24,457.

1.18 pm: The Union health ministry deploys high-level central teams to Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh, which are reporting a surge in the coronavirus infection, according to ANI. The teams will assist the states in testing, strengthening containment, surveillance, boosting control measures and infection prevention and efficient clinical management of the positive cases.

1.13 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says Pakistan and Afghanistan have fared better than India in handling the outbreak of the coronavirus. The Congress leader was reiterating his criticism of the Centre over the International Monetary Fund’s estimate that India’s per capita Gross Domestic Product will shrink 10.3% till March 31, 2021.

Read more here: Even Pakistan handled pandemic better than India, claims Rahul Gandhi

1.10 pm: Former Tamil Nadu MLA and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam Treasurer P Vetrivel dies because of the Covid-19 infection at a private hospital in Chennai, reports The Indian Express.

12.55 pm: An article published in a journal by United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that a 13-year-old girl infected 11 relatives with the coronavirus across four states despite testing negative two days before a family vacation.

12.45 pm: Japanese multinational company Fujifilm says it is seeking approval of its flu drug Avigan as a treatment of the coronavirus, reports Reuters. The move comes after a late-stage study showed that the drug reduced recovery times for patients with non-severe symptoms.

12.42 pm: A study published in journal The Lancet shows that one of China’s leading Covid-19 vaccine candidates, called BBIBP-CorV, was found to be safe and it also elicited immune response during an early phase human trial, reports PTI.

11.07 am: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tests negative for the coronavirus, Reuters reports.

11.02 am: Mainland China recorded 24 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, according to Reuters.

11.00 am: Jharkhand reports 583 new cases on Friday, taking its tally to 94,952, PTI reports. The state’s toll rises by eight to 820.

10.56 am: Singer Kumar Sanu tests positive for the coronavirus, his team says.

10.52 am: Polling officials will carry coronavirus kits for conducting the bye-elections to two Assembly segments in Odisha on November 3, PTI reports.

9.55 am: Telangana reported 1,554 new cases on Thursday, taking case count to 2,19,224, reports ANI. The toll in state rose to 1,256.

9.46 am: A clinical trial by the World Health Organization finds that remdesivir had little or no effect on coronavirus patients’ chances of survival or duration of hospital stay, Reuters reports.

Also read:

Covid-19: Remdesivir does not reduce deaths or hospital stay, shows WHO study

9.43 am: France reported a record 30,621 new cases on Thursday, according to Reuters. The country’s tally rose to 8,09,684. The toll stood at 33,125.

9.40 am: A US Department of Defense study released on Thursday shows that the risk of exposure to the coronavirus on planes is very low, Reuters reports. The study finds that when a seated passenger is wearing a mask, 0.003% of the air particles within the breathing zone around the head are contagious.

9.37 am: The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission asks doctors to not leave the city during the four days of Durga Puja, amid concerns of a surge in Covid-19 cases, PTI reports.

9.35 am: India’s coronavirus tests cross 9.22 crore.

9.23 am: India’s tally rises to 73,70,468 as it reports 63,371 new cases in a day. The country’s toll rises by 895 to 1,12,161.

9.18 am: Movie halls across India saw lukewarm response as opened for the first time since March on Thursday, PTI reports.

A photo from a movie hall in Delhi. (PTI)

9.14 am: In India, the Kaziranga National Park in Assam will reopen from October 21, PTI reports. It has been closed since March due to the coronavirus crisis.

9.11 am: Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris suspends travel through the coming weekend after two people who were around her test positive for the coronavirus, The Washington Post reports.

8.59 am: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen went into isolation on Thursday after one of her close staffers tested positive for COVID-19. She had to leave a summit of European Union leaders. She has tested negative.

8.40 am: India continues to register one of the lowest deaths per million population globally, says Centre.

8.35 am: Gir National Park in Gujarat reopens for tourists with Covid-19 protocols, reports ANI.

8.30 am: Sikkim reports 41 fresh cases, case count mounts to 3,500, reports PTI. The toll stands at 59.

Here are the top updates from Thursday:

  1. India coronavirus tally rose to 73,07,097 on Thursday as it reported 67,708 new cases in the last 24 hours. The country’s toll rose by 680 to 1,11,266. India’s active cases stood at 8,12,390, a decline from Wednesday, while the recoveries reached 63,83,441.
  2. The Centre issued fresh guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures for cultural events and other social gatherings, ahead of the festival season. “These guidelines contain Standard Operating Procedures to be followed by the management of theatres and performance spaces, as well as the entertainment, creative agencies, artists and crew or any other persons who hire the auditoria or any other open, closed performance spaces...” the Culture Ministry said in a statement. The ministry also clarified that cultural activities shall continue to be banned in containment zones. 
  3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review meeting to assess the progress in vaccine development against the coronavirus. The prime minister said that the vaccine has to be cost-effective, easily available and scalable. 
  4. A negative Covid-19 certificate is mandatory for visiting Sabarimala temple, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. He added that only 250 people will be allowed to visit in a day. The temple will reopen on Friday. 
  5. Former Tamil Nadu MLA and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam treasurer P Vetrivel died of Covid-19 at a Chennai hospital. Vetrivel, admitted to the hospital on October 6, died of septic shock, the doctors said.
  6. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday said that the doubling time of coronavirus cases in India rose to 70.4 days from 25.5 days in mid-August.The health ministry added that the sharp increase in doubling time was an indicator of a substantial decrease in the number of daily new cases.
  7. World Health Organization Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said that young and healthy people may have to wait till 2022 to get the vaccine against the coronavirus. “Most people agree, it’s starting with healthcare workers, and frontline workers, but even there, you need to define which of them are at highest risk, and then the elderly, and so on,” she said. “There will be a lot of guidance coming out, but I think an average person, a healthy young person might have to wait until 2022 to get a vaccine.”