10.24 pm: Total cases in Punjab goes up to 1,54,788, with 726 new infections, reports PTI. Twenty more deaths due to the coronavirus pushed the toll to 4,882.

10.23 pm: The tally of Covid-19 cases in Mumbai increases to 2,84,502 with 813 new infections, reports PTI. Toll rises to 10,871 with 14 new fatalities.

10.21 pm: New cases in Goa goes up by 94 to a total tally of 48,459 on Friday, reports PTI. The toll stands at 696.

10.18 pm: Maharashtra accounts for the highest number of both active Covid-19 cases (86,612) and fatalities (47,472) among all states, reports PTI, quoting Union health ministry data.

10.15 pm: Following all-party meet on coronavirus vaccine, Congress says that the Centre has no roadmap for vaccinating the poor, reports the Hindustan Times.

9.16 pm: Jammu and Kashmir records 544 fresh cases of the novel coronavirus and 12 deaths. The total infection count is now 1,12,256 and the toll stands at 1,730.

9.15 pm: West Bengal reports 3,206 new cases and 52 deaths in the last 24 hours.

8.57 pm: Tamil Nadu’s tally rises to 7,87,554 with 1,391 fresh infections while 15 more fatalities push the toll to 11,762.

8.55 pm: Gujarat records 1,510 new cases and 18 deaths in the last 24 hours, says the health department.

8.40 pm: A look at the daily count of three states.

Madhya Pradesh: 1,324 new cases and 14 deaths, tally at 2,11,698

Karnataka: 1,247 new cases and 13 deaths, tally at 8,90,360

Andhra Pradesh: 599 new cases and 6 deaths, tally at 8,70,675

6.59 pm: Uttarakhand registers 618 fresh infections and 10 deaths, taking its tally to 76,893 and toll to 1,273.

6.58 pm: Delhi’s tally rises to 5,86,125 with 4,067 new cases and 73 deaths in the last 24 hours.

6.57 pm: Kerala reports 5,718 new cases and 5,496 recoveries.

6.56 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy says his state is likely to get 1 crore doses of the vaccine in the next three to four months, reports PTI. “We got signals to that effect from the Centre,” he adds. “Accordingly, we are readying necessary cold chains and human resources.”

6.55 pm: The Karnataka government is likely to impose curbs on public celebrations ahead of the New Year, reports PTI. However, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa rules out imposing night curfew for now. “There is no such plan for now,” he tells reporters.

4.54 pm: The Union Health Ministry says it plans to vaccinate about one crore health workers from both the public and private sectors first, NDTV reports citing sources. After that, two crore frontline workers will get the vaccine shots.

4.53 pm: Two top officials of the B Medical Systems in Luxembourg will visit Delhi over the weekend to talks with government officials and scientists about the cold chain for Covid-19 vaccines, according to Hindustan Times. The firm is looking at setting up a plant in the country with its Indian partners to supply specialised refrigerated vaccine transportation boxes and freezers.

4.50 pm: The Brihanmumbai Municipal asks people not to crowd Chaityabhoomi in Dadar to pay tributes to Babasaheb Ambedkar on his death anniversary on December 6, reports PTI. “Social distancing, physical distancing, wearing masks, using sanitisers is the new norm,” says BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal. “We have to avoid crowding at any cost because the threat is not yet over.”

4.45 pm: The Delhi government says it is enrolling healthcare workers for vaccination, reports ANI. It adds that many registered nursing homes and hospitals as well as a few smaller unregistered clinics have submitted their data. The government invites remaining healthcare facilities to submit names of the healthcare workers.

4.00 pm: Drugmaker Zydus Cadila said it has received the approval from the Drugs Controller General of India to start phase 3 clinical trials of its biological therapy PegiHep in Covid-19 patients, reports PTI. The trials, which will commence in December, will be conducted on 250 patients across 20 to 25 centres in India, the firm said.

3.50 pm: The Delhi High Court asks the Aam Aadmi Party-led government to relook its decision of prohibiting spas from operating in the Capital, reports PTI. “If salons are working, then why not spas?” Justice Navin Chawla asks.

Justice Chawla says that prima facie, there is merit in the submission of the spa owners that if saloons are allowed to operate, then they too should be permitted to function. The court directs the Delhi government to take a fresh decision on the matter and file an affidavit within a week indicating what it has decided.

2.12 pm: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav says his party was not invited for the meeting with Modi, ANI reports. Yadav adds that this proves the meeting is just “show-off”.

2.09 pm: Modi adds that the Centre is discussing the price of the vaccine with the states and it will keep public health as its top priority.

2.06 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the country must ensure that rumours are not spread during vaccination, PTI reports. “We must make sure rumours are not spread during vaccination, rumours that are anti-national and anti-human,” he says. “Thus, all political parties must make sure that we save all Indians from such rumours and spread awareness.”

1.59 pm: Karnataka Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar says twelve expert committees have submitted a report to the government about the second wave of the coronavirus, which is likely to hit the state between January and February, ANI reports. He adds that the experts have suggested avoiding gatherings and ramping up testing.

1.56 pm: The health ministry says at the all-party meet that the vaccine will be first given to around 1 crore health workers and then to about 2 crore frontline workers, PTI reports.

1.15 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi requests all political leaders to send written suggestions on ways to tackle the pandemic. “I assure you that they will be considered seriously,” he adds.

1.12 pm: The prime minister adds that experts believe that a vaccine against Covid-19 will be ready “in the next few weeks,” reports ANI. “As soon as scientists give a green signal, vaccination will start in India,” he adds. “Healthcare, frontline workers and elderly persons suffering from serious diseases will be given priority in vaccination.”

1.03 pm: Modi says that India’s scientists are “very confident” they would succeed in developing a vaccine against coronavirus, reports ANI. “The world is keeping a watch on the cheapest and safe vaccine,” he adds. “That is why the world is watching India.”

1.03 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is speaking at the all-party meeting called by him to discuss the coronavirus situation.

1.00 pm: Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda participates in the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

12.56 pm: The Delhi government has the capacity to vaccinate the Capital’s population in a “few weeks”, once a vaccine is available, says Health Minister Satyendar Jain, according to ANI. This, he says, would be done through mohalla clinics, polyclinics, dispensaries and hospitals.

12.52 pm: Puducherry registers 46 new coronavirus cases on Friday, taking its tally of infections to 37,165, reports PTI. The toll rises to 614, after one more fatality was reported in 24 hours.

11.17 am: Mizoram registers seven new cases on Friday, taking its tally to 3,888, PTI reports.

11.14 am: Uber Technologies requests the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to designate its ride-hail and delivery drivers as non-health essential who should get the early COVID-19 vaccine early.

11.10 am: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approves an advisory panel’s recommendations to first vaccinate healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities, Reuters reports.

9.51 am: The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, which the company says was recently demonstrated to have 94% efficacy, causes the human immune system to produce potent antibodies that endure for at least three months, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed on Thursday, reports AFP.

Researchers at the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, which co-developed the drug, studied the immune response of 34 adult participants, young and old, from the first stage of a clinical trial. They said that the antibodies, which stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus from invading human cells, “declined slightly over time, as expected, but they remained elevated in all participants 3 months after the booster vaccination”.

9.49 am: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a status report from the Himachal Pradesh government regarding the treatment of Covid-19 patients in different hospitals, infrastructure and the facilities available therein, reports IANS.

A bench of justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah issued notice to the Himachal Pradesh government and asked it to file a status report after an advocate apprised it that there are several issues such as the lack of oxygen, lack of beds in the state.

9.46 am: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says he and his party hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would clarify by when will every Indian get a free coronavirus vaccine, at the all-party meeting today.

9.36 am: All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Randeep Guleria said he hoped that at least one of the five Covid-19 vaccine candidates that are in advanced stages of clinical trial in India will get emergency use authorisation from the drug regulator by January to be administered to the public, starting with priority groups, reports NDTV.

“Five vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of clinical trial in India and no significant serious adverse effects have been seen so far,” he said. “Also, they are logistically feasible for distribution in a large country like India, both in its urban and rural parts. Hopefully, by the end of this month or early next month, at least one of them should get emergency authorisation from the Indian drug regulator for its distribution among Indian population.”

9.31 am: The United States registered a record high of more than 2,10,000 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours on Thursday, reports AFP. The number of new deaths over the same period was 2,907, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

9.22 am: India’s coronavirus cases rises by 36,595 on Friday morning, making it the 27th straight day when daily infections stayed below the 50,000 mark. The country now has total 95,71,559 cases, while as many as 90,16,289 people have recovered. The toll rises by 540 to 1,39,188.

9.18 am: Former United States presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton as well as President-elect Joe Biden volunteered to take a coronavirus vaccine on camera if it will help promote public confidence, reports AFP.

Obama, in an interview with SiriusXM radio, said he would be inoculated if top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci signs off on a Covid-19 vaccine. “If Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting Covid, absolutely, I’m going to take it,” Obama said.

Freddy Ford, Bush’s chief of staff, told CNN the former president also wanted to help promote vaccination. “First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations,” Ford said. “Then, President Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera.”

Later in the day, Biden told CNN in an interview that he, too, would be willing to be vaccinated in public after government approval of vaccines, specifically saying he would rely on Fauci to say it was safe. “It’s important to communicate to the American people it’s safe,” the 78-year-old said. “It’s safe to do this.”

9.15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair an all-party meeting on the coronavirus situation in the country amid rising cases. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Home Minister Amit Shah will also be present at the meeting. Floor leaders of all parties from both houses of Parliament have been called for the meeting, which will be held via video conference at 10.30am, according to the Hindustan Times.

Here are the top updates from Thursday

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the coronavirus situation in the Capital was “under control”. The Capital registered 3,734 new cases and 82 deaths in the last 24 hours. 
  • Meanwhile, the Delhi government informed the High Court that no night curfew will be imposed in the national Capital or parts of it for now.
  • The Supreme Court expressed its concern over the violation of Covid-19 guidelines on wearing protection masks at public places and maintaining physical distance, and asked the Centre to suggest ways for its effective implementation.    
  • Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi after Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the Centre had never spoken about vaccinating the entire population against the coronavirus. The former Congress chief pointed out that the government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has made three different statements on vaccination, asking the prime minister to clear his stance.