10.38 pm: Himachal Pradesh reports 223 new cases of the coronavirus, 231 discharges and five deaths in the last 24 hours.

10.33 pm: Haryana has reported 1,129 new cases and 1,292 discharges today, according to ANI. Total cases stand at 1,54,495 including 10,009 active cases, 1,42,798 discharges and 1,688 deaths, says the state Health Department.

10.28 pm: Covaxin, the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research, has been given the go-ahead for Phase 3 of clinical trials, NDTV reports. The study will cover 28,500 subjects aged 18 and above, the Hyderabad-based firm that makes the vaccines has said.

10.22 pm: The Serum Institute of India has entered into an agreement with German pharmaceutical company Merck and New York-based non-profit health research organisation IAVI to develop a treatment for people who are infected with the coronavirus, NDTV reports. The aim is to develop SARS-CoV-2 neutralising monoclonal antibodies that could help keep people healthy after they have been infected, the three institutions have said.

9.57 pm: Mumbai reports 1,463 new cases of the coronavirus today, 49 deaths and 1,289 recoveries, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The total number of active cases is now 19,491, and the toll 9,918.

9.46 pm: West Bengal has reported 4,157 new coronavirus cases, 3,608 discharges and 64 deaths today, according to ANI.

9.41 pm: The Karnataka Health Department has said that 5,778 persons tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday. Of these, 2,807 cases were in Bengaluru Urban area. As many as 13,550 persons have been discharged in the state in the last 24 hours and 74 have died.

9.24 pm: The total number of new cases recorded by the Pune Municipal Corporation on October 21 was just 428, according to a tweet by the body on Thursday. On October 20, it had recorded 328 cases.

8.54 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan says the state government will provide coronavirus vaccine free of cost, when it is developed. “Citizens of the state, we have taken various impactful measures to save people from Covid-19,” he says in a tweet. “Now, the situation is under control. India is working swiftly towards preparing a coronavirus vaccine, and as soon as it is ready, it will be made available to all citizens of Madhya Pradesh for free.”

7.25 pm: Kerala reports 7,482 new Covid-19 cases and 23 deaths, according to ANI. The active case tally is 93,291.

7.22 pm: Tamil Nadu reports 3,077 new infections, taking its coronavirus tally to 7,00,193, reports ANI. The toll stands at 10,825 with 45 new fatalities.

7.13 pm: A statement issued by Jawaharlal Nehru University administration says JNU will open for final year PhD research scholars in a phased manner from October 26, reports PTI. The scholars include 98 students and project staff who need laboratory access only in science schools and special centres.

7.06 pm: American Airlines says its earnings dropped 73% in the third quarter amid the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a loss of $ 2.4 billion, or Rs 17,600 crore, reports AFP. The airline adds the plunge was not as bad as analysts had expected.

7.03 pm: The head of Robert Koch Institute says Germany is facing a “very serious” rise in Covid-19 infections as the country reported a record 11,287 new cases, according to AFP. The chief, Lothar Wieler, however, says it is possible to bring the virus under control through “systematic compliance with restrictive measures”.

6.55 pm: The Covid-19 tally of Jammu and Kashmir rises to 90,166 after the Union Territory reports 584 new cases, according to ANI. The tally of active cases in the Union Territory is 7,952.

6.51 pm: Rajasthan reports 1,822 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally to 1,80,755, reports ANI. The toll stands at 1,800.

5.18 pm: British Scientific Advisor John Edmunds on Wednesday said that the coronavirus is unlikely to be eradicated, according to Reuters. “We are going to have to live with this virus for evermore,” he said.

5.09 pm: Uttar Pradesh records 2,402 new cases on Thursday, which take its active infections to 29,131. The state’s recovered cases reach 4,27,937, while the toll stands at 6,790.

5.06 pm: Congress General Secretary Randeep Surjewala criticises the BJP for the free vaccine promise in Bihar. “In migrant workers crisis, Bihar CM [Chief Minister Nitish Kumar] and Deputy CM [Sushil Modi] said they won’t let Biharis enter,” Surjewala says, according to ANI. “PM said vaccine can’t possibly be made before a year. 1,000 Biharis died due to COVID. Do central ministers care? They’re deriding Biharis.”

4.55 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami announces that coronavirus vaccines in the state will be free of cost, ANI reports. His announcement came amid a row over BJP promising free vaccines in Bihar ahead of the Assembly elections.

Also read: ‘Blatant populism, shameless’: Opposition targets BJP for ‘free Covid vaccine’ promise in Bihar

2.30 pm: Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi tests positive for the virus. Modi has been in the midst of a hectic campaign for the upcoming state Assembly elections.

2.02 pm: The Centre relaxes visa norms for Overseas Citizens of India, Persons of Indian Origin and foreign nationals, allowing them to visit the country for any purpose except on tourist visa. The government also restores all existing visas, except electronic, tourist and medical visas.

12.37 pm: Britain announces tie-up with an Oxford-based firm named Oxford Immunotec to test the T cell response of potential coronavirus vaccines, Reuters reports.

T cell immunity is considered to be essential for protection against the coronavirus infection and may provide more immunity than antibodies.

12.33 pm: The health ministry says India’s active coronavirus cases have been less than 10% of the total cases since the last three days.

12.23 pm: Modi says that Bengal will strengthen India’s “atma nirbhar” or self-reliance vision.

12.17 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says though the coronavirus has subdued Durga Puja celebrations, the enthusiasm is the same. He urges people to maintain six-feet distance and follow safety precautions.

12.14 pm: The United States is likely to have enough vaccines available for vulnerable Americans by the end of 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says, according to Reuters.

12.12 pm: China will continue the suspension of outbound and inbound group tours due to concerns of a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the winter season, according to Reuters.

12.08 pm: Scientists at the University of Tokyo have found that even professional-grade face coverings cannot eliminate the risk of coronavirus infection entirely, Reuters reports.

12.06 pm: A Brazilian volunteer in a coronavirus vaccine trial of AstraZeneca died last week, the country’s health ministry disclosed on Wednesday. Brazil, however, said that the trial of the vaccine – developed by the pharmaceutical firm and Oxford University – would continue.

Read here:

Covid-19: Volunteer for AstraZeneca vaccine in Brazil dies, trial to continue

12.02 pm: Arunachal Pradesh’s tally rises to 13,912 on Thursday, as it records 134 new cases, PTI reports. The state’s toll stands at 31.

11.59 am: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed Jain temples to reopen their dining halls for the nine-day fasting festival Ayambil Oli Tap from October 23, ANI reports.

11.56 am: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while launching the BJP’s manifesto for Assembly elections in Bihar, says that every person in the state will be vaccinated against the coronavirus for free. She says the government will be ready to mass-produce the vaccine, as soon as the scientists clear it.

10.53 am: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention redefines “close contact” in relation to the spread of the coronavirus, AP reports. Earlier, the CDC had defined a “close contact” as a person who spent at least 15 minutes within six-feet distance of a coronavirus patient.

The updated guidelines say that a close contact is someone who has been within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

10.48 am: Health officials in the United States have now found that a woman from Texas died of Covid-19, while she was on board a flight in July, The Washington Post reports.

10.44 am: The number of tourists visiting the Gir Sanctuary and two safari parks in Gujarat is yet to pick up, The Indian Express reports. The tourism zone inside the sanctuary reopened on October 16. It was closed in March in view of the Covid-19 crisis.

10.41 am: The Madhya Pradesh High Court directs officials in nine districts to allow physical public rallies only if virtual meetings can’t take place, Hindustan Times reports. Assembly bye-polls are scheduled to take place in the state next month.

10.38 am: Spain on Wednesday became the first European country to cross 10 lakh cases, Reuters reports. The country’s tally stood at 10,05,295, while the toll reached 34,366.

10.35 am: World Health Organization Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan says that the coronavirus pandemic has underscored the importance of investing in public health and primary healthcare, PTI reports. “We see examples of countries where investments in primary healthcare over the past decade or two have paid off,” she says .”On the contrary, you have high income countries where they’ve been overwhelmed and haven’t been able to put in place some of the mechanisms that have been needed.”

9.44 am: India’s Covid-19 case count reaches 77,06,946 with 55,839 new infections in 24 hours. The toll goes up by 702 to 1,16,616.

9.15 am: The Madhya Pradesh High Court has ordered that cases should be filed against Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and former Chief Minister Kamal Nath for alleged violation of coronavirus protocols during election campaign, reports NDTV.

9.10 am: The Indian Council of Medical Research has approved a low-cost portable diagnostic machine to carry out tests to detect the coronavirus, reports The Hindu. It has been developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.

9.09 am: Spain becomes the first Western European country to exceed 1 million (10 lakh) coronavirus cases, reports Reuters. The country’s tally has doubled in just six weeks, despite strict measures to control the second wave. It has 10,05,295 coronavirus cases as of now, according to Johns Hopkins University.

9 am: Here are the top updates from Wednesday:

  1. India’s coronavirus case count rose to 76,51,107 with 54,044 new infections in 24 hours. The country’s toll rose by 717 to 1,15,914. There are 7,40,090 active cases, 67,95,103 recoveries, and the recovery rate stood at 88.81%.
  2. The Election Commission of India issued an advisory to all political parties, asking them to follow the coronavirus guidelines while campaigning. The commission said it has taken a “serious view of the laxity” on part of political parties and candidates in terms of maintaining crowd discipline.
  3. The Calcutta High Court partially modified its earlier order of declaring Durga Puja pandals across West Bengal as “no-entry zones” amid the coronavirus pandemic and increased the number of people who are allowed inside at a time. The court’s order came a day before Durga Puja celebrations kickstart across India.
  4. The Maharashtra government has capped the prices of N-95, double and triple layer masks being used to protect against the coronavirus, the state’s Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Tuesday. N-95 masks can be sold in the state in the price range of Rs 19 to Rs 49, while double and triple layer masks will be available at Rs 3 to Rs 4, he said.
  5. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said that plasma therapy helped save him and several other coronavirus patients. He added that the Indian Council of Medical Research must not remove the procedure from the national treatment guidelines.
  6. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Chief Executive Officer Mark Suzman has said that India will likely produce a large portion of coronavirus vaccine through its “strong and robust” private sector.