India’s coronavirus cases on Saturday crossed the 1-crore mark after it reported 25,152 new cases in a day. While the daily infections have dropped steadily since hitting a peak in September, India on Saturday hit a grim milestone by becoming only the second country, after the United States, to report more than 1 crore cases.

The total number of cases in India is now 1,00,04,599, while the toll rose to 1,45,136 with 347 more deaths in a day. The number of active cases stood at 3,08,751, while as many as 95,50,712 people have recovered from the disease in the country. The recovery rate has improved to 95.4%, and the fatality rate stood at 1.45%.

Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research said that it has tested 16,00,90,514 coronavirus samples so far, including 11,71,868 on Friday.

The Union health ministry said that getting a vaccine against the coronavirus in India would be voluntary but advised everyone “to receive the complete schedule of Covid-19 vaccine for protecting oneself against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to close contacts”.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday expressed its consternation over the spiralling coronavirus situation in India and said the pandemic had “spread like wildfire” due to the government’s poor implementation of necessary restrictions and other guidelines.

US clears Moderna vaccine for emergency use

The United States on Friday authorised Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in the country, the US Food and Drug Administration announced. The authorisation came a day after the body’s advisory panel had recommended its use. This makes Moderna’s shot the second vaccine after that of Pfizer-BioNTech to receive such an authorisation in the US in a week’s time.

Moderna has worked with the US government to prepare for the distribution of 59 lakh shots of the vaccine by this weekend. In a statement, Moderna said that it would deliver approximately 2 crore doses to the US government by the end of this year and is expected to have between 10 crore and 12.5 crore doses in the first quarter of 2021, with 8.5 crore to 10 crore of those for the United States.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 7.55 crore people and killed over 16.7 lakh, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Over 4.26 crore people have recovered from the infection.

Here are other top updates from across the world

  • United States Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence on Friday received a shot of Pfizer’s vaccine against the coronavirus in a televised appearance. They are the highest-profile recipients in the country to be vaccinated publicly.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had on Thursday said that they will get vaccinated in the next few days. President-elect Joe Biden expects to receive his shot as soon as next week. Former presidents Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama have also volunteered for public inoculations, according to Reuters.
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro claimed that coronavirus vaccines could turn people into crocodiles or bearded ladies, AFP reported. He has repeatedly downplayed the virus and its effects, and has even refused to get vaccinated.
  • Poorer countries will begin to receive coronavirus vaccination doses early next year from a facility created to ensure fair access, says the World Health Organization and its partners.
  • Spain has said it would start vaccinations on December 27, a day after it receives its first doses, AFP reported.