India’s coronavirus tally on Friday rose to 1,02,86,709 after 20,035 new cases emerged in 24 hours. The country’s toll went up by 256 to 1,48,994. There are 2,54,254 active cases, and 98,83,461 people have recovered from the disease so far. The country’s fatality rate stood at 1.45%, and recovery at 96.08%.

A government-appointed panel of experts is likely to consider applications for the emergency use of the coronavirus vaccines filed by the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer. The drug firms had made presentations before the expert panel on Wednesday. If the vaccines are cleared, the applications will go to the Drugs Controller General of India for final approval. The DCGI on Thursday had said: “Probably we will have a happy new year, with something in hand.”

Night-time restrictions were put in place in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru to curtail New Year celebrations in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday said that all the states and Union Territories will hold a dry run for India’s massive coronavirus vaccination programme on January 2. The government said that the focus of the dry run will be on the management of adverse events after inoculation.

This will be the second vaccine dry run to take place in the country. The first one happened in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat earlier this week. The exercise included all steps involved in the vaccination process, except for administering the shot.

Meanwhile, China has detected its first case of the new strain of the coronavirus, first detected in the United Kingdom, according to a publication run by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Reuters reported.

The World Health Organization on Thursday gave “emergency validation” to pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech’s vaccine against the coronavirus. The emergency listing paves the way for countries to expedite their regulatory approval process to “import and administer the vaccine”.

Globally, Covid-19 has infected more than 8.34 crore people and killed over 18.17 lakh, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Over 4.70 crore people have recovered from the infection.