10.14 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says 260 vaccine candidates are in different stages of development, of these eight are scheduled to be manufactured in India including three indigenous ones. “We are ensuring there’s no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms from safety of trials to efficacy of vaccines,” he adds, according to ANI.

10.11 pm: Karnataka reports 1,238 new cases, 5,076 discharges, and 12 deaths. The overall cases in the state stand at 8,97,801, with 8,66,664 recoveries, and 11,912 deaths, reports ANI.

10.10 pm: Gujarat records 1,270 new coronavirus cases, and 12 deaths, according to ANI.

10.08 pm: Punjab records 635 new cases, 503 discharges, and 28 deaths, reports ANI. The total number of cases in the state rises to 1,58,556 including 1,46,126 recoveries and 5,007 deaths, reports ANI.

10.05 pm: Wearing personal protective equipment, Covid-19 patients cast their votes during phase two of Kerala local body elections in Kochi, reports ANI. One hour was allotted to them after 6 pm.

6.40 pm: Nobel-winning United Nations food agency World Food programme fears “hunger pandemic” may be worse than the outbreak of the coronavirus, reports AFP.

6.39 pm: India’s total number of tests cross the 15-crore mark. One crore tests have been conducted in the last 10 days, says the Centre.

6.38 pm: A private hospital in Ahmedabad has been sealed for treating Covid-19 patients despite not being designated, reports PTI, citing the civic body.

6.33 pm: Andhra Pradesh registers 538 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, taking the overall case count in the state to 8,73,995, reports ANI, citing a health department bulletin.

4.57 pm: Haryana to reopen schools for Classes 10 and 12 from December 14. The schools will run for three hours from 10 am to 1 pm.

3.38 pm: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain says 13,000 of the 18,800 Covid-19 beds in the national Capital are vacant, reports ANI.

“There is no other city in the country that has so many vacant beds,” says Jain.

3.36 pm: India’s cumulative tests for detection of coronavirus crosses 15 crore with one crore tests added in just 10 days, says Union health ministry, according to PTI.

1.25 pm: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that he intends to take the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available and he will do so publicly. Guterres says it is a “moral obligation” and will help keep our communities safe.

“I encourage everybody that has access to the vaccine to be vaccinated, because it is a service, not only that we provide to ourselves,” the 71-year-old UN chief says. “Each one of us being vaccinated provides a service to the whole community because we are no longer spreading... there is no risk of spreading the disease. So, vaccination is for me a moral obligation in relation to all of us.”

1.18 pm: The coronavirus tally in Andaman and Nicobar Islands has risen to 4,783 with five new cases, reports PTI. The death toll remains at 61 as no new fatalities were recorded.

1.15 pm: Japan will buy 10,500 deep freezers to store coronavirus vaccines and is also considering purchasing dry ice in bulk, Reuters reports. Pfizer’s vaccines need to be kept at around minus 75 Celsius, and Moderna’s at about minus 20 Celsius, making it a challenge for countries.

9.47 am: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the country will start its vaccination programme against the coronavirus on December 27, making it one of the first countries in the world to innoculate its citizens, reports AP.

9.45 am: India’s drug regulators has sought data from the United Kingdom on the coronavirus vaccine developed by University of Oxford and AstraZeneca for its own assessment, reports the Hindustan Times.

9.42 am: The coronavirus tally in Thane goes up to 2,34,347 after the district registers 562 new cases, reports PTI. The overtally includes 6,670 active cases, 2,21,899 recoveries, 5,778 deaths.

9.40 am: The expert committee scrutinising applications by three firms for emergency use authorisation of their Covid-19 vaccines in India on Wednesday asked the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech for additional late-stage safety and efficacy data from their ongoing clinical trials, reports The Indian Express. Pfizer, the third applicant, has sought more time to present its data.

9.26 am: Britain’s medicine regulator asks people with a history of anaphylaxis to a medicine or food not to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, reports Reuters. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency adds there had been two reports of anaphylaxis and one report of a possible allergic reaction since the rollout began.

9.20 am: India registers 31,521 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally to 97,67,371, according to the Union Health Ministry. The toll rises by 412 deaths to 1,41,772. There are 3,72,293 active cases and 92,53,306 recoveries.

9.00 am: Here are the top updates from Wednesday

  • The Union Health Ministry dismissed reports claiming that the government has rejected drug manufacturers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech’s proposals for emergency use of a coronavirus vaccine in the country.
  • The coronavirus vaccine developed by the Oxford University and United Kingdom-based drugmaker AstraZeneca has 90% efficacy in a small group who got a half-dose first, but only 62% among them were given two full doses.
  • The Supreme Court said that there was no need to put up posters outside the homes of coronavirus patients, unless there were specific directions from the competent authority.
  • Sixty-four envoys and high commissioners of various countries took a tour of the Bharat Biotech facility in Hyderabad, where a vaccine against the coronavirus is being developed.
  • The Supreme Court directs the Centre and states to submit detailed responses in three days on adherence to safety rules like wearing face masks and observing physical distancing norms in hospitals as well as fire safety guidelines