11.06 pm: Luxembourg-based B Medical Systems to set up a cold chain facility for coronavirus vaccine in India by March, reports ANI.

11.05 pm: Maharashtra reports 4,026 new coronavirus cases and 53 deaths in last 24 hours, according to ANI.

11.04 pm: Haryana records 1,391 new coronavirus cases, 1,557 recoveries, and 13 deaths in the last 24 hours, reports ANI.

7.32 pm: The coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech provides strong protection against the infection within 10 days of the first dose, reports The New York Times, citing documents published by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Their first analysis of the clinical trial data also found that the coronavirus vaccine worked well regardless of a volunteer’s race, weight or age.

The news comes on the same day when Britain started vaccinating its oldest citizens with the Pfizer-BioNTech shots. Pfizer and BioNTech had earlier said their shot proved 95% effective in preventing the coronavirus in final-stage trials.

6.55 pm: Karnataka reports 1,280 new coronavirus cases today, taking its tally to 8,95,284, according to ANI. With 13 more deaths, the toll is at 11,880.

6.50 pm: Delhi reports 3,188 new coronavirus cases and 57 deaths today. The national Capital now has 5,97,112 total cases and the toll has risen to 9,763. As many as 5,65,039 have recovered from the infection.

5.01 pm: Travel restrictions are effective in countries with low numbers of Covid-19 cases, or that have strong travel links with nations experiencing high rates of the viral infection, says a study published in journal The Lancet Public Health.

The study also says that these restrictions may have been most effective in early stages of the pandemic and are unlikely to be effective when the virus is already spreading rapidly within a country.

4.48 pm: The National Expert Group on Vaccine, NEGVAC, has recommended vaccination of 30 crore people in the three categories of prioritised population groups, who will be the first to be vaccinated in India, says Union health ministry. The three groups include healthcare workers, frontline workers and elderly people.

4.40 pm: Union health ministry says some of the vaccine candidates may get licenced in next few weeks, reports ANI

4.31 pm: Government confirms drug manufacturers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have applied for emergency use approval of their potential coronavirus vaccines, reports ANI.

Union health ministry secretary says six vaccine candidates are in clinical stage trials in the country.

3.49 pm: Japan’s economy expanded at a 22.9% annual rate in the last quarter, as businesses and personal spending bounced back from the coronavirus pandemic-related shocks, reports AP.

3.44 pm: The Delhi High Court says that a litigant or an advocate cannot be asked to appear physically before the trial court amid the coronavirus crisis, unless all the parties agree to it, reports PTI.

2.55 pm: Andaman and Nicobar Islands registers 15 new cases on Tuesday, taking its tally to 4,773, PTI reports. The Union Territory’s toll stands at 61.

1.53 pm: Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old woman, becomes the first person in the United Kingdom to receive a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, reports AFP. Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has offered to have the jab on live television to allay public fears, said the roll-out was a “key moment” that would protect the most vulnerable.

1.49 pm: Odisha recorded 349 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the state’s count of infections to 3,21,913, reports ANI.

11.48 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India will use “mobile technology” for mass inoculation against the coronavirus once a vaccine is available, reports PTI. He, however did not provide any details about the technique.

Speaking at the India Mobile Congress, Modi said mobile technology has enabled benefits worth billions of dollars to reach the deserving and also has helped the poor and vulnerable during the pandemic. “It is also with the help of mobile technology that we will embark on one of the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination drive,” he added.

10.46 am: Telangana reported 682 new coronavirus cases and three deaths on Monday, pushing the state’s total to 2,74,540, and the toll to 1,477, reports ANI.

10.42 am: Jharkhand registers 179 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, pushing the state’s tally to 1,10,457 reports PTI. The toll rises to 988, after two more fatalities were reported.

10.39 am: An expert committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation will meet on Wednesday to review applications of Pfizer, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech seeking emergency use authorisation for their Covid-19 vaccine candidates, unidentified officials tell news agency PTI. There is, however, no official confirmation so far.

10.36 am: United States top health expert Anthony Fauci warned of another surge in Covid cases in the country after Christmas, reports BBC. Fauci, who has been asked by President-elect Joe Biden to be his Covid chief medical adviser, said his concerns for Christmas were the same as his concerns for Thanksgiving, “only this may be even more compounded because it’s a longer holiday”.

10.32 pm: Neeraj Nischal, associate professor of medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, tells The Hindu in an interview that seeing the vaccine as a magic bullet is fraught with danger”. He explains that “social vaccines”, or appropriate Covid behaviour, and biological vaccines will have to go hand in hand in the fight against coronavirus.

“Though vaccines are promising, the outcome isn’t going to change overnight,” he tells the newspaper. “It will still be a long fight and people’s participation is of utmost importance.”

10.26 am: The emergency use authorisation of the coronavirus vaccine developed by University of Oxford and United Kingdom-based pharma company AstraZeneca, in India is based on clinical trials with two full doses, an unidentified official of the country’s drug regulator told the Hindustan Times.

“The Indian trial has been using two full doses of the vaccine and that is the data which has been submitted for the emergency use authorisation process,” the official from the office of the Drug Controller General of India said.

10.20 am: Gujarat’s Self-Finance School Management Association on Monday announced that all self-financed schools across the state will bear educational expenses of students who have lost a parent or guardian to the coronavirus disease, The Indian Express reported. “Students will only have to submit a death certificate mentioning the cause of death due to Covid-19 to the school authorities to avail the benefit,” SFSMA spokesperson Dipak Rajyaguru said.

9.25 am: India records 26,567 new Covid-19 cases, taking its tally to 97,03,770. The toll rose to 1,40,958 with 385 more deaths. More than 91.78 lakh people have recovered from the disease so far and the number of active cases stand at 3,83,866.

9.20 am: Canada will get up to 2,49,000 doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine before the end of December, after it is approved by the health ministry, the government said on Monday, reports Reuters.

Canadian regulators are due make an approval decision on the vaccine, which Pfizer is producing with German partner BionNTech, as early as this week. “Following successful negotiations, Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020, contingent on Health Canada authorization of the vaccine,” the government said in a statement.

9.15 am: An 87-year-old Indian-origin man from the north east of England will become one of the first people in the world to get a vaccine against Covid-19 when he receives a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shot at a hospital in Newcastle on Tuesday, reports PTI.

9.00 am: Here are the top updates from Monday

  • The authorities in Ahmedabad extended night curfew till further notice. The city recorded 306 cases on Sunday, the highest in Gujarat. Its tally went up to 52,030.
  • The number of active coronavirus cases in India fell below the four-lakh mark on Monday to 3,96,729, which is the lowest in 140 days, the Union health ministry said
  •   The Serum Institute of India said it has applied to Drugs Controller General of India for the emergency use authorisation of its coronavirus vaccine, Covishield.  
  • Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give priority to his state while allocating the coronavirus vaccine, citing a high death rate and level of comorbidities.Singh told Modi that Punjab’s mortality rate was higher despite its low caseload, and therefore, the state needed special dispensation in the allocation of the vaccine.