10.17 pm: Seven people who recently arrived in Delhi from the UK and tested positive for the coronavirus have been found infected with the new strain of coronavirus, reports PTI, citing officials.

10.15 pm: Tamil Nadu records 937 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 8,18,014, according to PTI. The toll jumps to 12,122 with 13 more deaths.

9.12 pm: BJP leader Akula Ramesh Goud, who was elected as a corporator from Lingojiguda ward in Hyderabad, dies of the coronavirus, PTI reports.

9.08 pm: The Delhi government reduces the number of dedicated coronavirus beds in private hospitals as the number of cases reduce.

9.06 pm: Karnataka’s Bengaluru (Urban), Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Mysuru and Shivamogga districts have been selected for the dry run of the vaccine on January 2, ANI reports.

7.24 pm: Goa on Thursday registers 85 new coronavirus cases, which take its tally to 51,066. The state’s toll rises by two to 739.

7.22 pm: Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal announces that CBSE board exams will begin from May 4 and end before June 10.

7.19 pm: The High Commission of India in the UK suspends all consular services till January 8 in view of the extension of coronavirus-related restrictions, ANI reports.

7.15 pm: Kerala has so far reported 32 cases of the United Kingdom coronavirus strain, PTI reports. The state registers a total of 5,215 new cases and 30 deaths on Thursday.

7.13 pm: Maharashtra’s coronavirus count rises to 19,32,112 on Thursday as it registers 3,509 new cases, according to PTI. The state’s toll rises by 58 to 49,521.

4.55 pm: China says it has granted conditional marketing authorisation for coronavirus vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group, reports IANS.

4.52 pm: Uttar Pradesh additional chief secretary (health) says the new strain of coronavirus has been detected in two people, out of the 25,000 who were tested after returning from United Kingdom, reports ANI.

3.01 pm: Germany’s coronavirus cases tally climbs by 32,552 to 1,719,737, reports Reuters, citing data from the Robert Koch Institute.

2.58 pm: China grants conditional approval to a Covid-19 vaccine developed by an affiliate of state-backed pharmaceutical company Sinopharm, reports Reuters.

2.55 pm: French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune defends the government over the criticisms for the slow start of its coronavirus vaccination roll-out compared with its European neighbours, reports Reuters. France will not fail in its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, says the minister.

2.51 pm: The Centre says it has placed orders for procurement of nearly 83 crore syringes for the coronavirus vaccination and the Universal Immunization Programme, reports ANI. The government adds it has invited bids for nearly 35 crore syringes.

2.49 pm: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant says the government has not taken any official decision to impose night curfew in the state, reports ANI. Earlier in the day, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane said that the health department had moved a file before the government to consider imposing a night curfew.

2.44 pm: Puducherry will reopen schools in the city and Karaikal region from January 4, 2021, for classes 1 to 12, reports ANI. The classes will be held from 10 am to 1 pm on all 6 days, the government says.

2.40 pm: Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chairs meeting to review the preparedness at session sites for Covid-19 vaccination with principal secretaries of health, National Health Mission managing directors and other health administrators of all states and Union Territories through video conferencing, reports ANI. The government says all states and Union Territories will conduct a dry run on January 2.

1.39 pm: The Odisha government imposes a night curfew from 10 pm on Thursday to avoid large gatherings during New Year celebrations, reports PTI. The restrictions will remain in place till 5 am on Friday, Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena says.

1.35 pm: Puducherry registers 36 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Thursday, taking its overall count to 38,132, reports PTI. The toll from the disease remains unchanged at 633.

1.30 pm: Drugs Controller General Dr VG Somani says India is likely to have a vaccine against the coronavirus very soon, reports NDTV. “Probably we will have a new year with something in hand,” he says at a webinar.

1.26 pm: The coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna showed 94.1% efficacy in preventing symptomatic infections and severe Covid-19 illness, results from the primary analysis of the ongoing phase 3 clinical trial showed, reports PTI. The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that among over 30,000 participants randomised to receive the vaccine or a placebo, 11 in the vaccine group developed symptomatic Covid-19 compared to 185 participants who received the placebo.

12.39 pm: Filmmaker Anand L Rai tests positive for the coronavirus and is in quarantine. “I have tested Covid positive today,” he tweets. “Just wanted to inform everyone that I don’t feel any symptoms & I feel fine. I’m quarantining as instructed by authorities. Anyone who has come in contact with me recently is advised to quarantine & follow the government protocols.”

12.34 pm: Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh says 15 police personnel have lost their lives because of the coronavirus in the Union Territory, reports ANI. “Total 3,500 policemen detected Covid positive so far but most of them have recovered now,” he says.

12.12 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi advises people to be careful about rumours on the coronavirus, reports ANI. He says not to forward messages on social media without checking.

“In our country, rumours spread quickly,” the prime minister says. “Different people for their personal gains or due to irresponsible behaviour spread various rumours. Maybe rumours will be spread when vaccination begins, some have already begun.”

12.11 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the preparations for a coronavirus vaccine was in the last stages, reports The Economic Times. He says people will get vaccine manufactured in India.

12.02 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi gives a new slogan: “Dawai bhi aur kadaai bhi (Medicine with caution)” in view of the coronavirus pandemic, reports ANI.

10.36 am: China approves a Covid-19 vaccine developed by an affiliate of state-backed pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm on Thursday, reports Reuters.

No detailed efficacy data of the vaccine has been publicly released but its developer, Beijing Biological Products Institute, a unit of Sinopharm subsidiary China National Biotec Group, said on Wednesday its vaccine was 79.34% effective in preventing people from developing the disease.

10.34 am: France says it will deploy 1,00,000 police and gendarmes on New Year’s Eve to enforce a curfew imposed to combat coronavirus, reports BBC. The extra security also aims at halting the torching of cars that often takes place on the final night of the year.

10.29 am: United States reached a grave milestone on Wednesday, after the country logged a record number of 3,927 coronavirus-related deaths, according to a count released by Johns Hopkins University, reports AFP. The tally of infections rose to 1,97,15,899, with 189,671 new cases recorded in 24 hours.

10.26 am: An apartment complex in Bengaluru, Karnataka, was “closed down” after two residents – a mother and daughter – tested positive for the mutated strain of the coronavirus that was first detected in the United Kingdom, reports NDTV.

“Both patients, who are among hundreds to have recently returned from the UK, have been admitted to the state-run Victoria Hospital,” says Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar. Their primary and secondary contacts have been tested and shifted to institutional quarantine, he adds.

10.22 am: A panel of experts appointed by the Centre on Wednesday reviewed the applications filed by Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer for the emergency use authorisation of their coronavirus vaccines, reports NDTV. The panel will meet again on Friday.

10.20 am: The Republic Day parade of 2021 will be shorter, involve fewer participants and would have only a fourth of the usual number of spectators, the Hindustan Times reports, quoting unidentified officials. The celebrations have been toned down in view of the coronavirus crisis.

10.05 am: Guleria adds that India will have a vaccine against the coronavirus “within days”.

“Now, we have data, and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved based on the studies in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa,” Guleria tells ANI in an interview. ‘There is also data from Serum Institute of India. I think, once the data is shown to the regulatory authority, we should get approval for the vaccine in the county within a few days. I would say days rather than weeks or months.”

10.02 am: All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Randeep Guleria on Wednesday said it was possible that the more contagious and genetically distinct variant of the coronavirus had penetrated Indian borders in November, a month before it was officially reported in the country, reports ANI.

9.40 am: The Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Thursday imposed a night curfew for two days in the Capital to curb the spread of the new strain of the coronavirus, ahead of New Year celebrations.

Also read:

Delhi imposes two-day night curfew ahead of New Year to curb spread of new coronavirus strain

9.35 am: Jharkhand’s Covid-19 tally mounts to 1,14,873, after 223 more people tested positive for the infection, reports PTI. The death toll rises to 1,027 as two persons from Ranchi succumbed to the disease in 24 hours.

9.30 am: India’s coronavirus case count goes up to 1,02,66,674 after 21,822 cases emerge in 24 hours. The country’s toll goes up by 299 to 1,48,738.

9.20 am: India has tested 17,20,49,274 coronavirus samples as of Wednesday. Of these, 11,27,244 were tested on Wednesday.

9.15 am: Here are the top updates from Wednesday

  • India reported 14 more cases of the mutant strain of the coronavirus, taking the infection tally from the new variant in the country to 20. The new strain, which is 70% more transmissible was first discovered in the United Kingdom.  
  • The Centre extended the suspension of international flights till January 31, 2021, in view of the coronavirus crisis. Earlier in the day, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced that the temporary suspension of flights between India and the United Kingdom was also extended till January 7, 2021.   
  • Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to all states and Union Territories, asking them to keep a strict vigil to curb “super spreader” events in the wake of New Year celebrations. He urged the states to impose “appropriate restrictions” on December 30, December 31 and January 1, after assessing the local situation.
  •   United Kingdom approved the coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, becoming the first country to do so. The roll out of the vaccine will begin on January 4  
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research warned against the indiscriminate use of experimental therapies for the treatment of Covid-19 as it may lead to faster mutation of the virus.  
  •   The Maharashtra government extended the coronavirus lockdown in the state till January 31