Here are the top updates of the day.

10.13 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a review meeting on India’s Covid-19 vaccination strategy. “Important issues related to progress of vaccine development, regulatory approvals and procurement were discussed,” Modi tweeted. “Reviewed various issues like prioritisation of population groups, reaching out to HCWs, cold-chain infrastructure augmentation, adding vaccinators and tech platform for vaccine roll-out.”

9.27 pm: Puducherry registers 54 new Covid-19 cases and 101 recoveries, reports ANI. The cases tally in the Union territory now stands at 36,585, which includes 621 active infections, 35,355 discharges and 609 deaths.

9.23 pm: Maharashtra reports 5,640 coronavirus infections and 155 deaths, pushing the cases tally in the state to 17,68,695, according to ANI. The overall tally includes 78,272 actives cases, 16,42,916 recoveries and 46,511 fatalities.

9.21 pm: The coronavirus tally in Gujarat rises to 1,94,402 after the state reports 1420 fresh infections, reports ANI. The toll climbs to 3,837 with 7 new fatalities in the state. There are 13,050 active cases and 1,77,515 recoveries.

9.18 pm: The World Health Organization issues conditional recommendation against the use of remdesivir in the treatment of hospitalized Covid-19 patients, regardless of the severity of the disease severity, saying that there is currently no evidence that the medicine improves survival and other outcomes of the patients concerned.

9.15 pm: Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation says the Ahmedabad metro passenger services will remain suspended for Saturday and Sunday in view of the curfew imposed in the city, reports ANI.

8.23 pm: Rajasthan Home Department advises district administrations to impose restrictions under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in view of the rising Covid-19 cases in the state, reports ANI.

8.20 pm: Manipur reports 200 new Covid-19 cases, taking the tally in the state to 22,748, according to ANI. The overall tally includes 2,896 actives cases, 19,620 discharges and 232 deaths.

8.16 pm: Delhi Lieutenant General Anil Baijal amends the Delhi Epidemic Disease Management of Covid-19 Regulations 2020 to allow “authorised persons” to impose a fine of Rs 2,000 for violating quarantine rules, physical distancing norms, not wearing face masks and consumption of pan, gutka and other substances in public places, reports ANI.

8.11 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says the coronavirus positivity rate in the Capital has dropped by 5% in five days, reported the Hindustan Times. Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, the chief minister attributes the decline to the measures taken by his government in the fight against the infection.

7.54 pm: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announces imposition of night curfew between 10 pm to 6 am from Saturday in Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Vidisha and Ratlam districts, according to ANI. Essential services and factory workers will be exempt from the curfew, he adds.

7.52 pm: Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel a night curfew will be imposed in Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara between 9 pm and 6 am, starting from Saturday, reports ANI.

4.52 pm: Bihar registers 495 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the tally in the state to 2,29,969, reports ANI. There are 5,603 active cases, 2,23,153 recoveries and 1,212 deaths in the state.

4.48 pm: The number of containment zones in Delhi rises to 4,550 amid a surge in coronavirus infections in the national Capital, according to PTI. The maximum number of containment zones are in the southwest district with 743 such areas and the lowest in the northeast district with 148.

4.46 pm: Bharat Pandya, the spokesperson for the Gujarat unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, says that the state government has decided to postpone two-day-long chintan yatra (brain-storming session) in view of the coronavirus pandemic, reports PTI. The session will be held at an appropriate time in the future, Pandya adds.

4.43 pm: Tripura registers 75 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the tally in the state to 32,292, reports PTI. The overall tally includes, 962 active cases, 30,945 recoveries and 362 deaths.

4.37 pm: Britain Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the Covid-19 lockdown rules could be eased to allow families to gather during Christmas as cases are declining, reports Reuters.

4.31 pm: South Australia’s authorities say that the six-day lockdown in the state was triggered because of a “lie” to contact tracers from a man who tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Reuters. They say the lockdown, which began two days ago, will be lifted much sooner than originally planned.

4.30 pm: Hong Kong registers a spike in fresh Covid-19 cases to 26, two days before an arrangement with Singapore to allow a limited number of passengers to fly both ways without having to go through quarantine was to start, reports Reuters.

4.23 pm: Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is penalising people for not wearing masks and testing them for the coronavirus, reports ANI. “We’re doing rapid antigen tests on people not wearing masks,” says a health official. “If they test positive, then they’re sent to [a] Covid centre, else they’re fined Rs 1,000.”

4.20 pm: Door-to-door survey begins in Delhi for identification of symptomatic people amid a rise in coronavirus cases in the national Capital, reports ANI. “If any person is suffering from fever, we send them to nearby government dispensary for Covid-19 test,” says an Accredited Social Health Activist worker.

4.17 pm: Uttar Pradesh reports 2,858 new coronavirus cases, 2,220 discharges and 20 deaths, according to ANI. There are 23,357 active cases, 4,91,131 recoveries and 7,500 fatalities in the state.

2.00 pm: A day after sending four high level teams to Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Manipur, the Centre is now contemplating sending multidisciplinary teams to other states and Union Territories that are experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases, the Union health ministry says.

The teams have been sent to assist the states in strengthening containment, surveillance, testing, infection prevention and control measures for the coronavirus.

1.01 pm: New coronavirus cases in Delhi are gradually reducing, claims Health Minister Satyendar Jain, reports PTI. “The positivity rate is falling,” he says. “This indicates that the spread of virus decreasing in Delhi.”

12.58 pm: All schools that fall within the jurisdiction of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will remain closed till December 31, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar says, according to ANI.

12.55 pm: Face-to-face meetings between the chief negotiators in Brexit talks were suspended on Thursday after a member of the European Union team tested positive for coronavirus, the bloc’s Michel Barnier said, AFP reports.

12.52 pm: Mexico’s toll from the coronavirus crosses 1,00,000, making it the fourth country in the world to pass the grim milestone, AFP reports.

12.47 pm: At least 28 more people tested positive for Covid-19 in Mizoram in 24 hours, taking the state’s tally to 3,541, PTI reports.

12.46 pm: Andaman and Nicobar Islands report 19 new Covid-19 cases, taking the tally of cases in the Union Territory to 4,604, reports PTI.

12.41 pm: The Mayor of Agra, Naveen Jain, on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ministry of culture, asking them to remove the cap of 5,000 visitors per day at the Taj Mahal, reports PTI.

“All types of businesses, industries, trains, buses have started operating after the Covid-19 lockdown but restriction on entry of visitors to the Taj Mahal continues,” he wrote. “This is adversely affecting the tourism industry and local economy of Agra. Over 3.5 lakh people in Agra depend on revenue generated from tourism.”

12.34 pm: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain spells out the steps taken by the government to contain the spiralling coronavirus situation in the Capital, ANI reports. “Contact tracing is already underway at a large scale,” he says. “House-to-house survey would be conducted in containment zones from today to check on symptomatic patients.” Besides, Jain says that government rates will be charged for 60% of the beds reserved by the Delhi government in private hospitals

11.16 am: Global forecasting firm Oxford Economics said in a report on Thursday that India will be the world’s worst-affected among the major economies even after the coronavirus pandemic weakens.

Read here: India will be worst-hit among major economies even after Covid-19 pandemic: Report

11.12 am: The new phase 2 trial results of the Oxford vaccine, published in The Lancet, show it to have a strong immune response in people in their 60s and 70s.

11.07 am: A new study done in Maharashtra’s Pune city shows that nearly 85% of the residents, who had been found to be infected in a serological survey in July and August, have developed antibodies against the infection, The Indian Express reports.

The follow-up study was done in five prabhags (each of comprising three or four municipal wards) in the city.

11.03 am: The indigenously-developed Feluda test kit will be made available in Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Kolkata in December, Hindustan Times reports.

10.58 am: The Centre on Thursday sent medical teams to Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Manipur to help the states in Covid-19-fighting measures, The Hindu reports.

“With the surge in the daily new cases and the spike in the daily fatalities in Delhi, the spillover effect is being observed in the NCR regions within the States of Haryana and Rajasthan, where the number of positive patients is on the rise,” the health ministry said.

10.52 am: The Congress demands that the Delhi government withdraw its hike in fine for not wearing masks, ANI reports. “This tyrannical decision will increase corruption,” Delhi Congress President Anil Chaudhary says. “This fine should be immediately withdrawn. Instead of that, awareness should be created among people.”

Chaudhary adds: “A fine of Rs 100 should be levied and masks should be distributed so that people feel that they’ve made a mistake.”

Also read:

Coronavirus: Fine for not wearing masks in Delhi raised to Rs 2,000 from Rs 500

9.30 am: US President-elect Joe Biden rules out a nationwide shutdown but insists on a national mask mandate, reports PTI. “…There is no circumstance which I can see that would require a total national shutdown,” he adds. “I think that would be counterproductive, but there are constraints in which the degree to which businesses can be open.”

9.20 am: India records 45,882 new coronavirus cases on Friday, taking the the country’s total to 90,04,365. The toll rose to 1,32,162 with 584 more deaths. The number of active cases stood at 4,43,794. As many as 84,28,409 people have recovered from the disease so far.

9.12 am: Tripura on Thursday reported 105 new Covid-19 cases, taking the state’s tally to 32,217, PTI reports. The toll from the disease in the state is 361.

9.10 am: Nagaland’s coronavirus tally went up to 10,460 after 94 more people tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, reports PTI.

9.00 am: Here are the top updates from Thursday

  • Serum Institute of India Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla said that India can expect a coronavirus vaccine by December or early next year. The vaccine would cost Rs 500 to Rs 600 for the general public, he said. 
  • Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said the Aam Aadmi Party government has ordered 90 private hospitals to reserve 60% of their total beds for treatment of Covid-19 patients. He added that this will lead to an increase of 2,644 beds in private hospitals for coronavirus treatment.
  • The Centre sent four teams to Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Manipur to assist the states in strengthening containment, surveillance, testing, infection prevention and control measures for the coronavirus. The teams will visit the districts reporting a high number of Covid casesa and aid their efforts in combating the infection.
  • The Ahmedabad administration has decided to impose an indefinite night curfew amid a rise in coronavirus cases in the city. The curfew, from 9 pm to 6 am, will come into effect from Friday.
  • The Union government announced its decision to reserve five seats in the Central pool in medical courses, MBBS and BDS for children of “Covid-19 warriors” for the academic year 2020-2021.
  • The potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by the Oxford University and drug manufacturer AstraZeneca has produced strong immune responses in older adults, data published in medical journal The Lancet, showed.
  • The Pune Municipal Corporation has warned of a second coronavirus wave in the city amid a steady rise in cases. The active cases in the city, which are currently around 4,300, may soon go beyond 19,500, Pune’s Additional Municipal Commissioner Rubal Agarwal said. Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation also held a review meeting with Maharashtra Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray, who said that preparations to control an “expected surge” in the number of Covid-19 cases was discussed.
  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced an increase in fines for not wearing masks in the national Capital to Rs 2,000, from the existing penalty of Rs 500. Kejriwal said that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal also agreed on the decision during a meeting.
  • The Delhi High Court heavily criticised the Aam Aadmi Party-led government for not imposing timely restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus in the city, asking why it took the administration 18 days to “shake out of their slumber” and revise the limit on wedding guests from 200 to 50.