10 pm: Delhi reports 227 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally to 6,33,276. The toll rises to 10,782 with eight more deaths.

9.30 pm: The health ministry says that more than 9.99 lakh health care workers have been vaccinated against the coronavirus so far in India during the programme in 27 states and Union Territories. “1,92,581 beneficiaries were vaccinated till 6 pm today, the sixth day of nationwide Covid-19 vaccination,” says a press release. “Final reports would be completed for the day by late tonight.”

Meanwhile, 187 adverse events have been reported till 6 pm on the sixth day of the vaccination drive.

6.20 pm: The coronavirus tally in Andhra Pradesh mounts to 8,86,557 after 139 people test positive for the infection, reports ANI. There are 1,522 active cases and 8,77,893 recoveries. The toll stands at 7,142.

6.16 pm: Serum Institute of India chief Adar Poonawalla assures the government and the public that there would be no loss of production of the coronavirus vaccine as there are multiple production buildings. Earlier in the day, an under-construction building of the Serum Institute caught fire in Pune’s Manjari area.

6.12 pm: Kerala registers 6,334 new Covid-19 cases, 6,229 recoveries and 21 deaths, reports ANI. The active cases tally stands at 69,771 and 7,96,986 patients have recovered so far. The toll is 3,545.

6.10 pm: Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital spokesperson says that 34 healthcare workers were administered the coronavirus vaccine in the medical institution, reports ANI.

6.01 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with beneficiaries and vaccinators of the Covid-19 inoculation drive in Varanasi on Friday via video conferencing, reports PTI. Varanasi is Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency.

4.27 pm: The coronavirus tally in Odisha mounts to 3,33,866 after the state registers 143 new cases, reports PTI. The toll climbs to 1,903 after one person dies in Cuttack. Odisha now has 1,589 active case, while 3,30,321 patients have recovered from the infection.

4.21 pm: A study by the doctors of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, shows that Chloroquine, when given as nasal drops, has the potential to prevent coronavirus infection if it is administered before the infection is established, reports The Times of India.

4.18 pm: United States Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci tells the World Health Organization that the country intends to join the COVAX vaccine facility, reports Reuters. COVAX aims to deliver vaccines to poor countries.

“President [Joe] Biden will issue a directive later today which will include the intent of the United States to join COVAX and support the ACT-Accelerator to advance multilateral efforts for Covid-19 vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic distribution, equitable access, and research and development,” Fauci tells the WHO executive board.

4.14 pm: Uttar Pradesh registers 195 new coronavirus cases, pushing the tally in the state to 5,97,823, reports PTI. With six new deaths, the toll increases to 8,597. There are 7,717 active cases, while the number of people recovered from the infection stands at 5,81,509.

2.55 pm: Bharat Biotech applies for emergency use of its Covid-19 vaccine in the Philippines, Food and Drug Administration chief Rolando Enrique Domingo tells Reuters.

2.52 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah says the world is surprised by Indian economy’s “V-shaped recovery”, reports PTI. He adds that the vaccination drive is progressing well.

2.50 pm: Manish Agrawal, the joint commissioner of police (traffic), says the Republic Day parade route has been shortened and guests reduced this time keeping in view the coronavirus situation.

2.05 pm: Kenya reports two cases of new strain of coronavirus, first discovered in South Africa, according to Reuters.

2.02 pm: Dubai cancels non-essential surgery for a month and live entertainment in hotels and restaurants until further notice as coronavirus cases surge in the city, Reuters reports.

1.36 pm: Bharat Biotech applies to conduct vaccine trials in Bangladesh, Reuters reports. If the company’s proposal is accepted, it would be the first trial of any coronavirus vaccine in Bangladesh. This will also ensure that the country gets faster access to the vaccine.

1.25 pm: South Africa will pay $5.25 (Rs 383 approximately) for each dose of Serum Institute of India’s vaccine, a price higher than what some developed countries are paying, Business Day reports.

“We were advised that SII has applied a tiered pricing system, and given that (South Africa) is an upper-middle-income country, their price is $5.25,” Anban Pillay, deputy director-general of the country’s health department said. “The explanation we were given for why other high-income countries have a lower price is that they have invested in the (research and development), hence the discount on the price.”

1.21 pm: Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine is administered to the first volunteer in Japan as the country’s Takeda Pharmaceutical begins combined phase one and two trials of the inoculation, Reuters reports.

1.17 pm: Vaccines from India reach Nepal and Bangladesh.

1.02 pm: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan adds that the Centre wants everyone to get vaccinated. “Government does not want people who are hesitant to take vaccine to suffer any disadvantage,” he says, according to ANI. “Everyone should get equal protection just like our doctors.”

1.00 pm: The minister adds: “It is unfortunate that some people are spreading misinformation about the vaccination for political reasons. This has developed vaccine hesitancy in a small group of people.”

12.58 pm: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan dispels concerns about vaccine safety. “The message is clear that vaccine is completely safe and effective,” he says. “The said adverse events or side effects surfacing are common and it can be seen after any vaccination.”

12.18 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to get vaccinated in the second phase of country’s coronavirus inoculation drive, according to multiple reports. “PM will take the vaccine when his turn will come after completion of the first phase,” an unidentified official in the Prime Minister’s Office tells the Hindustan Times.

All MPs and MLAs who are above the age of 50 will also be vaccinated in the second phase, according to NDTV.

11.13 am: With six months to go for the Tokyo Olympics, fears are growing rapidly that the Games may not take place at all, reports AFP. Former London 2012 Deputy Chairperson Keith Mills said he thinks the Games looked “unlikely” to happen, while British Olympics legend Matthew Pinsent said it was “ludicrous” to go ahead.

11.09 am: The Uttarakhand government asks the Centre for 20,000 additional coronavirus vaccines for the Haridwar Kumbh Mela of 2021, reports ANI. The state’s Covid Control Room Chief Abhishek Tripathi says the government has sent a proposal to the Centre in this regard.

11.05 am: Portugal’s daily count of coronavirus cases jumped to more than 14,600 to set a new national record Wednesday, as the country weathers one of the worst pandemic surges in the world, reports AP. Health authorities reported 14,647 new infections – about 3,600 more than the previous daily record set four days ago.

9.50 am: India registers 15,223 new cases on Thursday, taking the overall count to 1,06,10,883. The country’s toll rises by 151 to 1,52,869. India’s active cases stand at 1,92,308, below 2 lakh after nearly seven months, while the number of recoveries reach 1,02,65,706.

9.40 am: Mutant variants of the coronavirus found in South Africa and Brazil could trigger more re-infections, and even reduce vaccine efficacy, though more tests are underway, say experts, according to the Hindustan Times. The new strains emerging in these countries are different from the one reported in the United Kingdom, scientists say.

“It is possible that these mutations and others that emerge in individuals with suboptimal or waning immunity will erode the effectiveness of natural- and vaccine-elicited immunity,” says a team led by researchers from Rockefeller University in a study submitted to Biorxiv on January 19. “The data suggests that Sars-CoV-2 vaccines may need to be updated.”

9.35 am: Recipients of the locally produced Covaxin will be monitored for three months after getting the second dose for any adverse reactions, the Hindustan Times reports, quoting a detailed plan released by the Indian Council of Medical Research. This would be done to dispel safety concerns about the vaccine whose efficacy data is not publicly known.

If a serious adverse event is linked to vaccination, then the recipient will be compensated based on the national drug controller’s recommendations after thorough investigation, said the plan.

9.32 am: Oxford scientists in Britain are preparing to rapidly produce new versions of their vaccine to combat emerging more contagious Covid-19 variants discovered in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, The Telegraph reports. The team behind the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is undertaking feasibility studies to reconfigure the technology, the newspaper says, citing a confirmation from the Oxford University.

9.25 am: India has reported at least 600 adverse event following immunisation in five days, one of the lowest in the world, the Hindustan Times reports, quoting the Union health ministry. Of these, 82 were reported on Wednesday.

9.23 am: At least five states on Wednesday said that doses of coronavirus vaccines were going to waste as citizens were not showing up to receive their shots, mainly due to worries over possible adverse reactions.

Also read:

Coronavirus vaccines wasted in at least 5 states as recipients refuse to show up for inoculation

9.20 am: The World Health Organization on Wednesday said that countries should not panic about getting access to a Covid-19 vaccine because “everyone who wants one will get one”, reports AFP. The WHO’s Assistant Director-General Mariangela Simao said the United Nations’ health agency was working towards ensuring access to coronavirus jabs all around the world.

Here are the top updates from Wednesday

  • The Union Health Ministry modified the Co-WIN app, the central government’s application to register people for the coronavirus drive, to allow on-spot beneficiary registrations. With this upgrade, states can accommodate walk-ins.  
  •   A 42-year-old healthcare worker in Telangana died, a day after he received a shot of the coronavirus vaccine. While the autopsy is yet to be conducted, the state health authorities said the death was not related to the vaccination process.  
  • The World Health Organization said that the United Kingdom coronavirus strain has been found in at least 60 countries.  
  • Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said the poll body will increase the number of polling stations in Assam by about 5,000 for the upcoming Assembly elections, in view of the coronavirus pandemic.