10.45 pm: South Africa bans alcohol sales and makes masks mandatory in public from today after a surge in coronavirus cases, reports AFP.

10.30 pm: K Balaji, district magistrate of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, says a person who recently returned from the United Kingdom has tested positive for the new strain of the coronavirus, reports ANI. “All family members are healthy,” he adds.

10.15 pm: Punjab records 11 more coronavirus deaths, pushing the toll to 5,322, while 215 fresh cases took the infection count to 1,65,878, according to PTI.

9.50 pm: Delhi reports 703 new coronavirus cases today, taking its total to 6,24,118, reports PTI. The toll rises to 10,502 with 28 fatalities. The positivity rate now stands at 0.83%.

8.27 pm: Mumbai reports 537 new cases and six new deaths, reports ANI. The number of active cases currently stand at 8,186.

8.24 pm: Andhra Pradesh records 326 new cases, as tally goes up to 8,81,599, reports ANI. Two new deaths take toll to 7,100.

8.21 pm: Karnataka reports 662 new cases, taking the tally up to 9,17,571, reports ANI. Toll goes up to 12,074, with four new deaths.

7.35 pm: Maharashtra records 3,018 new coronavirus cases today, taking its tally to 19,25,066, according to ANI. With 68 more deaths, the toll stands at 49,373.

7.13 pm: Bharat Biotech Chairperson Krishna Ella says the company’s vaccine candidate Covaxin can offer protection against the new Covid-19 strains, PTI reports.

7.10 pm: Kerala on Tuesday records 5,887 new cases, which take its tally to 7,46,240. The state registers 24 more deaths.

7.08 pm: All schools in Mumbai will remain closed till January 15, ANI reports, citing the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

7.07 pm: Maharashtra’s coronavirus count rises to 19,25,066 on Tuesday as it reports 3,018 new cases in 24 hours. The state’s toll rises by 68 to 49,373.

6.56 pm: Tamil Nadu on Tuesday registers 957 new coronavirus cases, which take its tally to 8,16,132. The state’s toll rises by 12 to 12,092.

6.51 pm: The health ministry says 70% of coronavirus deaths are among male patients.

4.50 pm: The government says that it did roughly 5,000 genome sequencing tests before the emergence of new, faster-spreading coronavirus strain.

4.47 pm: The government says that India’s daily new cases are less fell below 17,000 after six months.

4.41 pm: Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava says it is important not to put too much immune pressure on virus. “We’ve to maintain judicious use of therapies which are going to benefit,” he says, according to ANI. “If benefit isn’t established we shouldn’t use those therapies otherwise it will put pressure on virus and it’ll tend to mutate more.”

4.39 pm: The health ministry warns people against holding super-spreader events ahead of New Year.

4.29 pm: The government says that there is a need to be more vigilant about the new coronavirus strain. It stresses on public health response.

4.29 pm: The government says 10 labs have been set up for genome sequencing.

4.17 pm: The health ministry say the vaccines in pipeline in India and across the world will work against the new variants also and there is no need to worry.

4.12 pm: The Centre briefs media on the coronavirus.

4.10 pm: The health ministry says the vaccine dry run has been successfully conducted in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat.

4.06 pm: The health ministry says all international passengers who have arrived in India from 9th December 9 to to December 22 will be subjected to genome sequencing if they test positive for the coronavirus and are symptomatic, ANI reports.

4.02 pm: The second day of vaccine dry run in Punjab’s Ludhiana district concludes, ANI reports. “Dry run was conducted at 7 centres to train our staff to carry the procedure smoothly,” the district’s chief medical officer says. “It was a total success.”

3.03 pm: Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri says the temporary suspension of flights from the United Kingdom because of the new variant of coronavirus can be extended for a short period of time, reports ANI. “I don’t see the extension to be long or indefinite,” he says.

2.59 pm: The Dutch national statistics office says that the number of deaths in the Netherlands has increased to the highest rate since the World War Two because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Reuters. The country has reported 13,000 more expected deaths with 1,62,000 fatalities this year.

2.56 pm: A health official in Dubai says the United Arab Emirates city is planning to inoculate 70% of its population with the coronavirus vaccine produced by pharmaceutical company Pfizer and Biotechnology firm BioNTech by the end of 2021, reports Reuters.

2.53 pm: Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja says 18 returnees from the United Kingdom have tested positive for the coronavirus, reports PTI. “Arrangements had been made to quarantine at home those who had come back from the UK after the new variant of the virus surfaced,” she adds.

2.51 pm: Puducherry logs 42 new coronavirus cases, pushing the tally in the Union Territory to 38,070, reports PTI. The toll climbs by two to 633.

2.49 pm: Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association writes to Air India Director (Operations), demanding that the company procure information from labs and promptly inform all pilots who have tested positive for the new variant of the coronavirus, reports ANI.

2.45 pm: Indonesia Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin says the country was finalising deals to secure 50 million doses (5 crore) of coronavirus vaccines from drugmakers Pfizer and AstraZeneca, reports Reuters.

2.38 pm: Odisha registers 263 new coronavirus, taking the tally in the state to 3,29,001, reports PTI. The toll climbs by four to 1,868. There are 2,688 active cases and 3,24,392 recoveries.

2.34 pm: Tamil Nadu Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan says one person has been identified with the new strain of coronavirus first discovered in the United Kingdom, reports ANI. Radhakrishnan adds that the infected patient was isolated and has been undergoing treatment.

2.22 pm: Ladakh reports five new coronavirus cases and 16 recoveries, reports ANI. The active cases tally stands at 198.

1.45 pm: Identified beneficiaries undergo dummy vaccination at various centres in Gandhinagar and Rajkot districts of Gujarat on the second day of the Covid-19 vaccination dry run, reports The Hindu.

1.27 pm: South Africa announces level three lockdown due to increase in number of cases, reports IANS.

12.36 pm: The United States military has begun its first wave of Covid-19 vaccinations in Japan, prioritising frontline medical workers, according to Reuters.

12.33 pm: The Philippines says it has approved a clinical trial for the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen coronavirus vaccine candidate, reports Reuters. The country’s Food and Drug Administration says the trial would begin in the next few weeks.

12.31 pm: Russian Direct Investment Fund says Belarus has become the first country after Russia to to start vaccination of its people against the coronavirus using the Sputnik V vaccine, reports ANI.

12.27 pm: Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan says 17 people returning from the United Kingdom, where a new strain was the coronavirus was found, has tested positive for their infections, reports ANI. Radhakrishnan says the state tested 1,500 people. Sixteen contacts of the returnees have also tested positive for the coronavirus, he adds.

12.25 pm: The coronavirus tally in Jharkhand rises to 1,14,420 after the state reports 152 new infections, reports NDTV. The toll climbs to 1,020 after one more patient dies.

12.23 pm: Telangana registers 397 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the tally to over 2.85 lakh, reports PTI. The toll climbs by two to 1,535.

12.18 pm: China begins emergency coronavirus vaccination on some key groups in Wuhan, reports PTI. The vaccination is available at 48 designated clinics in 15 districts targeting people aged between 18 and 59 years.

12.15 pm: Himachal Pradesh Health Minister Rajiv Saizal says former Chief Minister Shanta Kumar’s wife, Santosh Shailza, has died because of the coronavirus, reports PTI. Kumar had also tested positive for the infection.

10.56 am: Four states conduct a dry run for the coronavirus vaccination process for the second consecutive day before the expected rollout of the vaccine, reports the Hindustan Times. While Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Assam conducted mock registration of volunteers on Monday, they carried out dummy vaccination drills on Tuesday.

10.49 am: The Swedish government has proposed a temporary coronavirus pandemic law giving it new powers to curb the spread of Covid-19, which it said it hoped to have in place by January, reports AFp. The law will allow the country to close down businesses, shopping malls or public transport as well as limit the number of people permitted in public gatherings. Earlier, the country relied mostly on non-coercive measures during the pandemic.

10.45 am: Russia has admitted that its toll because of the coronavirus was three times higher than reported earlier, making it the country with the third-largest number of fatalities, reports AFP. Russian health officials have said that over 1.86 lakh Russians have died from Covid-19.

10.43 am: Local authorities in Germany’s Vorpommern-Ruegen district said that eight elderly workers at a care home were mistakenly injected with five times the recommended dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, reports ANI. Four of them have developed flu-like symptoms and were admitted to a hospital for observation.

10.40 am: The United States’ National Institutes of Health said that the phase 3 clinical trail to assess the safety of Covid-19 vaccine developed by American biotech company Novavax has begun in the country and Mexico, reports AFP. A similar trial for the same vaccine is also under way in the United Kingdom.

10.39 am: Actor Ram Charan said he has tested positive for the coronavirus. “Request all that have been around me in the past couple of days to get tested,” he tweeted.

10.35 am: An analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment has revealed that public transport in Delhi has been running with a reduced capacity since the countrywide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, reports the Hindustan Times. The analysis showed that the capacity fell by 73% on average since March and that there was an increase in the use of private vehicles as people felt unsafe to avail themselves of public transport.

10.33 am: The Odisha government said that about 62 returnees from the United Kingdom are untraceable in the state even as it was keeping a tab on the new coronavirus strain. reports PTI. As many as 181 people have returned to Odisha from the UK between November 30 and December 21.

10.30 am: The Uttar Pradesh government said that all those devotees visiting the Magh Mela 2021 in Prayagraj will need to undergo a coronavirus test, reports PTI.

10.11 am: The World Health Organization acknowledged that the coronavirus outbreak has had a devastating impact around the globe, but warned that worse pandemics could lie ahead. The health body urged world leaders to get serious about preparedness against future contagions.

Also read:

Coronavirus outbreak is serious but world needs to be ready for ‘more severe’ pandemics: WHO

10.06 am: India’s coronavirus tally rises to 1,02,24,303 after 16,432 new cases emerge in 24 hours. The country’s toll goes up by 252 to 1,48,153. There are 2,68,581 active cases, and 98,07,569 people have recovered from the disease so far.

9.40 am: India has recorded the first six cases of the mutant coronavirus strain first reported in the United Kingdom, the Centre says. “A total of 6 samples of 6 UK returnee persons have been found to be positive with the new U.K variant genome,” the statement reads. “Three in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, 2 in CCMB, Hyderabad and 1 in NIV, Pune.”

9.45 am: Here are the top updates from Monday

  • Delhi reported 564 new coronavirus cases, the lowest daily increase since July 27, data from the health department showed. Deaths rose by 21, with the total now at 10,474.
  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare began a dry run of the coronavirus vaccination drive in four states in order to assess the preparation for it. It will be continued on Tuesday. The dry run will be conducted in two districts each of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Punjab.    
  • The Centre  extended its existing guidelines for restrictions for surveillance and containment of the coronavirus till January 31. In a release by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Union government noted the decline in active cases of Covid-19 in the country, while adding a word of caution against the new strain that has emerged in the United Kingdom.
  • The chief executive officer of the Serum Institute of India, which is the local maker of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca,  said that he expected the Indian government to approve shots for emergency use within a few days. Adar Poonawalla told reporters that they have already made 40 million to 50 million doses of the vaccine.