10.50 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says the Covid-19 situation in the Capital is “under control”, reports PTI. “Delhi is showing the path in various sectors,” he says at a meeting with a delegation of Delhi Bar Council and Coordination Committee of Bar Associations of Delhi. “Now the Covid-19 cases are also going down in the capital and the situation is under control. Delhi has fought a very difficult battle at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

10.40 pm: Jharkhand reports 233 new coronavirus cases and six.

9.25 pm: West Bengal’s tally goes up to 4,93,316 with 3,246 new cases and 49 deaths in the last 24 hours.

8.53 pm: Himachal Pradesh Governor Bandaru Dattatreya cancels the upcoming Assembly session from December 7.

8.49 pm: The Supreme Court seeks a status report from the Himachal Pradesh government regarding treatment of patients in hospitals, reports ANI. The court was hearing a plea by an advocate who flagged lack of oxygen, beds in the state. The court will hear the matter again on December 9.

8.48 pm: Tamil Nadu reports 1,416 new cases and 14 deaths while Andhra Pradesh registers 664 fresh infections and 11 additional fatalities in the last 24 hours.

8.45 pm: Delhi registers 3,734 new cases and 82 deaths in the last 24 hours.

8.43 pm: The Himachal Pradesh High Court asks the state government to consider making Covid-19 test mandatory for people entering the state from outside, reports ANI.

8.42 pm: Karnataka registers 1,446 new coronavirus cases and 13 deaths.

8.41 pm: Madhya Pradesh’s tally rises to 2,10,374 with 1,450 fresh infections and 13 fatalities in the last 24 hours.

8.40 pm: Maharashtra reports 5,182 new cases and 115 additional deaths.

6.30 pm: Rajasthan’s tally rises to 2,74,486 with 2,086 new cases and 20 additional deaths.

6.27 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says her government has capped the price of RT-PCR test in private labs at Rs 950, reports ANI.

5.13 pm: All India Institute of Medical Sciences Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria says that those who have higher chances of dying of Covid-19 would need to be vaccinated first as the vaccine will not be available in large quantities in the beginning, reports ANI. “Elderly, people with comorbidities and front line workers should be vaccinated first,” he says.

The director of the medical institute says that once booster dose of the vaccine is given, it will develop a good amount of anti-body production. “This will last for many months giving protection for a significant time when numbers will be less,” he adds. “We need to see type of immunity vaccine gives.”

5.04 pm: Turkey announces coronavirus vaccination plan with an experimental “inactivated vaccine” that will begin later in December, reports AP. The country had earlier said that it had signed a deal with Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech for 50 million, or 5 crore, doses of CoronaVac, which is currently in phase 3 trials.

5.01 pm: Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri says Indian airlines are now allowed to operate from 70% to 80% of their pre-coronavirus capacity. He says that the domestic operations that began with 30,000 passengers on 25 May have now reached 2.52 lakhs, as of November 30.

3.58 pm: The Supreme Court expresses concern over the violation of the Covid-19 guidelines on wearing protection masks at public places and maintaining physical distance, reports PTI. A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan also asks Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and other stakeholders to give suggestions on how to strictly implement these guidelines.

The court was hearing a suo motu case in the Rajkot case, where a fire broke out a private hospital treating coronavirus patients last week, according to Bar and Bench. Five patients had died in the accident.

2 pm: The Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi informs the High Court that no night curfew will be imposed in the national Capital or parts of it for now, reports PTI.

Meanwhile, a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad direct the Aam Aadmi Party government to focus on testing and tracing contacts of patients to deal with the pandemic. The court says that the time to declare coronavirus results should be brought down to within 24 hours from 48 hours or more. The judges say the labs can message the results to people on their mobile numbers, which are taken at time of sample collection, and it can be put up on the websites later.

1.30 pm: Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala on Wednesday tested positive for the coronavirus, reported The Indian Express. He had attended the wedding functions of his grandsons Karan and Arjun. Several politicians, including Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Kuldeep Bishnoi, Ranjit Singh, Sukhbir Singh Badal also attended the wedding ceremonies and met Chautala.

1.23 pm: The head of United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the Covid-19 pandemic will pose the country’s grimmest health crisis yet over the next few months before vaccines can become widely available, reports Reuters.

1.16 pm: Supreme Court reserves its order on public interest litigation against the decision of states and Union territories to put up posters outside the homes of coronavirus patients, divulging their identities, reports ANI.

1.08 pm: United States President-elect Joe Biden urges Americans to avoid Christmas travel to prevent spread of coronavirus, reports PTI. The country has so far reported 1,39,21,374 cases and 2,73,799 deaths.

1.03 pm: Three women allegedly attack a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation employee after she asks one of the them to wear a wask in view of the coronavirus pandemic, reports PTI.

1.01 pm: Puducherry registers 42 new coronavirus cases, 27 recoveries and one death, reports PTI. The infection tally stands at 37,119, which includes 613 fatalities, 36,062 discharges and 444 active cases.

12.54 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticises Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the ambiguity on the coronavirus vaccine policy. “PM - Everyone will get vaccine,” tweets Gandhi. “BJP in Bihar elections - Everyone in Bihar will get free vaccine. Now, GOI [Government of India] - Never said everyone will get vaccine. Exactly what does the PM stand by.”

11.36 am: Students in South Korea sit for university entrance exam with those infected with Covid-19 taking the test in hospital and others separated by transparent barriers, according to Reuters.

11.30 am: Bengal minister Firhad Hakim becomes first volunteer to take Covaxin, Covid-19 vaccine candidate, in phase 3 trials in Kolkata, reports PTI.

11.26 am: Mizoram reports 12 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the tally in the state to 3,881, according to ANI. There are 291 active cases, 3,584 recoveries and six deaths in the state.

11.23 am: The Indian Council of Medical Research says it has till Wednesday conducted 14,35,57,647 tests. The health body conducted 11,11, 698 tests on Wednesday.

11.18 am: Interpol issues global alert to law enforcement agencies, warning them to prepare for organised crime networks who may target Covid-19 vaccines, both physically and online, reports ANI.

11.15 am: The Vijay Rupani government approaches the Supreme Court against the Gujarat High Court order that made it mandatory for those violating the face mask rule to do community service at Covid-19 centres, reports ANI.

9.40 am: Former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing died late Wednesday of Covid-19, AFP reports. Giscard, who had been in hospital several times in the last months for heart problems, died “surrounded by his family” at the family home in the Loire region, his family said in a statement.

9.38 am: The World Health Organization on Wednesday said it had received data from Pfizer and BioNTech on the Covid-19 vaccine and was reviewing it for “possible listing for emergency use”, reports Reuters. “WHO is also in discussions with MHRA [Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] on the possibility of accessing some of the information from their assessment, which could expedite WHO’s emergency listing,” the global health body said in a statement.

9.30 am: India’s coronavirus cases rise by 35,551 on Thursday morning, making it the 26th straight day when daily infections have stayed below the 50,000 mark. The country now has total 95,34,964 cases, while as many as 89,73,373 people have recovered so far. The toll rises by 526 to 1,38,648.

9.24 am: The United States reported over 2,700 deaths in 24 hours on Wednesday, the highest since April, Johns Hopkins University said, reports AFP. The new tally of 2,731 fatalities raised the toll in America to 2,73,181.

9.22 am: The World Health Organization does not believe there will be enough quantities of coronavirus vaccines in the next three to six months to prevent a surge of infections, its top emergency expert Mike Ryan said on Wednesday, reports Reuters.

9.15 am: The Odisha government on Wednesday capped the price of real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR Covid-19 tests in private labs at Rs 400, making it the lowest in the country, PTI reports. A notification issued by the state health department said the new maximum price cap would be inclusive of the Goods and Service Tax.

Here are the top updates from Wednesday

  •  The United Kingdom approved a coronavirus vaccine by clearing a shot developed by pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. The vaccine will be rolled out in the UK from early next week.  
  • Indian carrier SpiceJet said it was preparing to provide logistical support for Covid-19 vaccination with its dedicated freighter division, SpiceXpress. The airline’s cargo arm is equipped to transport extremely sensitive vaccines that require controlled temperatures between -40 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius.  
  • The Gujarat High Court directed the state government to make community service at coronavirus care centres mandatory for people found without protective masks. The court’s order came on a petition seeking an increase in the fine amount for not wearing face covers.  
  • The Indian Medical Association called for the withdrawal of non-essential and non-Covid services on December 11 to protest against the Centre’s decision to allow post-graduate Ayurveda practitioners to perform general surgeries related to ophthalmology and dental procedures.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered officials to begin mass coronavirus vaccinations in the country from next week.
  • West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim became the first volunteer to take “Covaxin” – a vaccine developed by biotechnology company, Bharat Biotech. The minister took the vaccine, which is in its phase three trial stage, in Kolkata.