10.53 pm: Pune district reports 9,956 new cases, 8,175 recoveries and 114 deaths in the last 24 hours.

10.43 pm: Assam registers 499 fresh cases of coronavirus.

10.02 pm: The Centre directs states to ensure that there is no panic buying of essentials amid the re-imposition of coronavirus-related restrictions, PTI reports.

9.58 pm: Kerala will test 2.5 lakh people for Covid-19 between April 16 and 17, ANI reports.

9.48 pm: Uttarakhand registers a record 2,220 new cases on Thursday, taking its total count of infections since the beginning of the pandemic in January last year to 1,16,244, PTI reports. This is the state’s biggest one-day rise in infections since the outbreak. The state’s toll rises by nine to 1,802.

On Thursday evening, the Uttarakhand government announced new restrictions under which only 200 people will be allowed to attend religious and social gatherings, ANI reports. Meanwhile, lakhs of devotees continue to participate in the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.

Buses and auto-rickshaw will run with up to 50% capacity. Gyms will also operate at half of their capacity. Coaching centers, swimming pools and spas will be closed.

Night curfew will stay in place from 10:30 pm to 5 am. Those over 65 years of age, pregnant women and children are advised not to leave their homes.

9.41 pm: Madhya Pradesh registers 10,166 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its biggest one-day rise in infections since the pandemic began in January last year, PTI reports. The state now has 3,73,518 cases in all. Madhya Pradesh’s toll rises to 4,365 with 53 more deaths.

9.33 pm: Haryana reports a records 5,858 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, according to PTI. The state’s number of active cases rises to 30,518. Eighteen more deaths push the state’s toll to 3,334.

8.30 pm: With 6,769 new Covid-19 cases, West Bengal’s overall case count goes up to 6,36,885, according to ANI. The toll rises by 22 to 10,480. There are 36,981 active cases, and 5,89,424 Covid-19 patients have recovered so far.

8.28 pm: Maharashtra records 61,695 new Covid-19 cases, 53,335 recoveries and 349 deaths in 24 hours, reports ANI. The overall case count is 36,39,855, including 29,59,056 recoveries, and 6,20,060 active cases. The toll is 59,153.

8.15 pm: Delhi reports 16,699 new Covid-19 cases, 112 deaths and 13,014 recoveries in 24 hours, according to ANI. The overall case count in the Capital stands at 7,84,137. The toll rises to 11,652.

7.53 pm: Uttarakhand reports 2,220 new infections and nine deaths in the last 24 hours.

7.50 pm: Karnataka logs 14,738 new cases, 3,591 discharges and 66 deaths.

7.47 pm: An 11-day lockdown will be imposed in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district from April 16 to April 26, announces Collector Ritesh Agarwal.

7.17 pm: Tamil Nadu reports 7,987 new cases, 4,176 recoveries and 29 deaths.

7.15 pm: With 1,141 fresh coronavirus cases, Jammu and Kashmir’s active cases cross 10,000-mark, according to PTI.

6.21 pm: Nine doctors request the Supreme Court to postpone the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for post graduate candidates or NEET-PG, in view of rising coronavirus cases in the country, Bar and Bench reports. The exam was scheduled to take place on April 18

5.33 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tells NDTV that a lockdown may need to be imposed in the Capital if hospitals are unable to cope with the surge in cases. “If the positivity rate reduces over time, then there is no need to worry,” he adds. “But if the positivity rate increases, we will have to worry about the health infrastructure.”

5.30 pm: The Election Commission says there is no plan to club the remaining election phases in West Bengal into one, amid the surge in coronavirus cases, ANI reports.

5.27 pm: International Baccalaureate cancels examinations across India amid the surge in coronavirus cases, PTI reports.

5:20 pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari says 300 beds are being added to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Nagpur and oxygen is being brought from Visakhapatnam, PTI reports. He adds that hospitals in Nagpur will also receive 1,000 ventilators from Visakhapatnam.

5.19 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says the curfew announced earlier on Thursday is meant only for this weekend, NDTV reports. “We will monitor the situation on a daily basis,” he tells the news channel. “If needed, we will impose it for the next weekend as well.”

5.14 pm: Uttar Pradesh records 22,439 new cases on Thursday – the highest single-day rise in infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020, PTI reports. The state’s tally of active cases stood at 1,29,848, while the number of recoveries reached 6,27,032. UP also records 114 deaths.

4.35 pm: The Karnataka government asks devotees returning from the Kumbh Mela in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city to isolate themselves and get tested for the coronavirus.

Also read: Kumbh Mela: Karnataka asks devotees coming from Haridwar to isolate themselves, get tested for Covid

4.32 pm: The administration of Maharashtra’s Raigad district reserves more than 5,000 beds in government and private hospitals for coronavirus patients, PTI reports.

4.30 pm: Haryana also cancels board exams for class 10, PTI reports. For class 12, the exams will be postponed.

4.25 pm: The Odisha government cancels board exams for classes 10 and 12 in view of the coronavirus situation, ANI reports. The students of classes 9 and 11 will be promoted without any exams.

4.21 pm: Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla chairs a meeting to review the coronavirus situation in Madhya Pradesh, ANI reports. The state has been asked to focus on the “test, track, treat, and vaccinate” strategy, augment oxygen supply and increase the number of intensive care unit beds.

4.08 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will chair a virtual meeting on the coronavirus situation with presiding officers of the lower house of the Parliament on April 19, ANI reports. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and Opposition leaders will also attend the meeting.

4.04 pm: The Delhi High Court permits 50 people to offer prayers at the Nizamuddin Markaz mosque five times a day, Bar and Bench reports.

“[The] situation is getting grim day by day,” the court observes. “But since all religions places are open, this also had to be opened.”

3.20 pm: The Gujarat government postpones Class 10 and 12 board examinations and promotes students of Classes 1 to 9 and 11, reports ANI, citing the Chief Minister’s Office. The new dates will be announced after reviewing the coronavirus situation on May 15.

3.17 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh says students in Class 5, 8 and 10 will be promoted without exams, reports ANI.

2.56 pm: The Uttar Pradesh government extends the timing of night curfew imposed in districts affected by the coronavirus pandemic, reported NDTV. The curfew already in place in Lucknow, Prayagraj, Noida, Kanpur, Varanasi, Meerut and Ghaziabad will begin from 8 pm and end at 7 am. It was earlier from 10 pm to 5 am in these districts. The government has also deferred school board exams till next month.

2.50 pm: All schools in Uttar Pradesh to be closed till May 15 while board exams for classes 10 and 12 have been postponed till May 20 as Covid-19 cases rise, the state government announces, reports PTI.

2.22 pm: A total of 1,701 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Kumbh Mela in Haridwar from April 10 to 14, reports PTI. These figures include both RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Test reports of devotees and saints, says Haridwar Chief Medical Officer Shambhu Kumar Jha.

Several lakhs of devotees are visiting the Kumbh Mela each day but only a few are being tested and other basic Covid-19 related protocols such as wearing masks, thermal screening, and checking negative test reports have been ignored. The mela is scheduled to continue till April 30.

2.20 pm: Schools in Uttar Pradesh will be closed till May 15 amid rise in coronavirus cases, reports PTI. The board exams for Classes 10 and 12 have been postponed till May 20.

2.15 pm: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticises the Narendra Modi government for the worsening coronavirus situation in the country.

“There are no tests or beds in hospitals,” he tweets. “There are no ventilators or oxygen. The vaccine is also not there. But there is a sham of a festival. PM-CARES?”

2.12 pm: A list of the states with the highest number of coronavirus cases.

2.10 pm: Night curfew timing has been extended in Lucknow, Noida and other districts in Uttar Pradesh with over 2,000 coronavirus cases, reports NDTV. It will now be in effect from 8 pm to 7 am.

1.21 pm: “Curfew passes will be issued to those rendering essential services,” Kejriwal says. “Malls, gyms, spas and auditoriums are going to be closed for now. Cinemas halls may operate at 30% capacity only. One weekly market may operate per day per zone. People will no longer be allowed to eat at the restaurants, only home deliveries permitted.”

1.16 pm: Kejriwal urges people not to insist on going to specific hospitals in Delhi. “I had a meeting today and we are trying to increase the number of beds...so that the Capital’s residents can get treatment quickly,” he says.

1.08 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announces weekend curfew in the Capital. “There is no shortage of beds in hospitals in Delhi,” he says. “According to the latest data, more than 5,000 beds are available.”

12.53 pm: Uttar Pradesh additional chief secretary (Health) issues directions on quarantine of migrant workers returning to the state. They will be screened by the district administration and those showing symptoms will be sent to 14 days of home quarantine. Seven days of home quarantine ordered for the asymptomatic patients.

12.51 pm: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi attacks central government on shortcomings in health infrastructure, taking a dig at the “tika utsav”, or vaccine festival ideated by the prime minister.

“There is no test, no beds in hospitals, neither ventilator, nor oxygen, even vaccines are not available, all we have is a sham of a festival...PMCares?,” Gandhi says in a tweet.

12.46 pm: Relatives of coronavirus patients in Pune hold sit-in protest outside the collector’s office demanding Remdisivir medicine, ANI reports.

12.45 pm: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Ministers Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi take coronavirus vaccine in Patna, reports ANI.

12.43 pm: Hospitals in Nashik ditrsict of Maharashtra complain of shortage of oxygen supply, reports ANI.

“Only when the oxygen supply is increased we’ll be able to admit more patients,” says Yogesh More of Uma Hospital. “We need 50 cylinders daily but we are getting only 30 cylinders.”

12.41 pm: Hearing a suo motu case on the pandemic situation in the state, Gujarat High Court questions government over availability of beds, reports ANI.

“You say only 53% beds are occupied...so why is there so much noise about beds not being available in private and government hospitals,” courts asks.

12.34 pm: Medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontierès says the second wave of coronavirus in India has made it urgent for the United States government to transfer surplus vaccines.

Meanwhile, World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said over 83% of the 80 crore vaccines administered in the world have gone to high-income or upper middle-income countries, while low income countries have received just 0.2%.

12.25 pm: Kerala government declares many areas in Capital Thiruvananthapuram as containment zones as state’s positivity rate reaches 13.45%, reports the Hindustan Times.

12.18 pm: Union minister VK Muraleedharan alleges Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had tested positive for coronavirus on April 4 and cast his vote without following the Covid-19 protocols on April 6, reports ANI.

State Health Minister KK Shailaja has, however, refuted the claim, reports the Hindustan Times. Vijayan had been admitted to a hospital in Kozhikode after testing positive on April 8.

10.10 am: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant says the government has not yet taken a decision on cancelling state board exams of Classes 10 and 12 due to rise in coronavirus cases, reports PTI.

10.02 am: South Africa has joined the United States in suspending its roll out of the Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine as agencies said they were reviewing data involving six reported cases of a “rare and severe type of blood clot” in the recipients, reports PTI.

10 am: A top health official from Telangana on Wednesday advised people to wear masks even inside homes while warning them about the possibility of spreading the coronavirus infection indoors.

Read more here: Wear masks even at homes, says Telangana’s top health official

9.59 am: A two-member team from the Defence Research Development Organisation visited Bihar’s Patna on Wednesday to help the state government to tackle the pandemic, reports the Hindustan Times. Fifty doctors of DRDO will assist the government to fully operationalise the Employees State Insurance hospital.

9.56 pm: Mumbai hospitals will use five-star hotels to treat coronavirus patients with mild infection amid a massive surge in cases, reports NDTV. The rises in cases across India has overwhelmed the health infrastructure.

9.50 am: Meanwhile, India’s principal scientific adviser K VijayRaghavan raises concern about the double mutant variant of the coronavirus found in the country, reports the Hindustan Times.

It’s reasonable to say that the variant is of concern because it has been found in a significant number of people,” he tells the newspaper. “And it’s not just because it’s been found in a certain number of people but we know that these particular mutations have [also] got physiological effects on our context.”

Last month, the Centre had said that the double mutant variant and “variants of concern” had been detected in 18 states in India. It said that the mutations were found in 15%-20% of the analysed infected samples from Maharashtra but did not link the variant with the second wave.

Also read:

India played down new mutant Covid strains to avoid panic – but this may have backfired

9.49 am: Virologist Dr Shahid Jameel tells News18 that the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic will continue in India till May-end and the number of new daily cases may rise to about 3 lakh.

“What is really scary is the rate at which cases are increasing,” he tells News18. “If you look at the growth in active cases, that’s about 7% per day. That’s a very high rate of increase. Unfortunately, if this rate keeps on, we will be looking at somewhere around 3 lakh cases per day. And this is what some modellers are suggesting.”

9.45 am: India has vaccinated 11,44,93,238 people so far against the coronavirus, according to the government data.

9.30 am: India, which is severely affected by the second wave of the pandemic, reports 2,00,739 new coronavirus cases in a day. This is the highest ever rise in infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020.

The country now has 1,40,74,564 total cases. With 1,038 deaths, the toll has risen to 1,73,123. As many as 1,24,29,564 people have recovered from the infection.

9.15 am: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi says that the coronavirus pandemic should be declared as a natural calamity and State Disaster Response Fund must be used to provide benefits to those affected, reports The Indian Express.

“Though the pandemic is a calamity, it is yet to be defined as a natural calamity,” Thackeray says. “So, individual benefits cannot be given as per the existing system.” He added that treating the pandemic as a natural calamity is a policy decision to be taken at the national level and the Centre has to take a call on it.”

9.09 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blames the Bharatiya Janata Party for rising coronavirus cases in the state, reports NDTV. “Where were you all these days,” she asks, without naming the saffron party. “You have brought Covid and run away. We had cured everything. If they had given the vaccination to all the people in time, then there would be no new cases of Covid.”

9.05 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will hold a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal today as the city stuggles to contain the new wave of the pandemic.

Hospitals and graveyards are running out of space fast in Delhi due to the massive surge in cases, NDTV reports. Mohammad Shamim, the caretaker of Delhi’s biggest graveyard near ITO, says, “From one or two bodies a day, it is now 17 bodies daily. In the last five days, the condition has deteriorated. We only have space for 90 more. If situation continues like this, then in the next 10 days, we will run out of space.”

A look at developments from Wednesday:

  1. India on Wednesday reported 1,84,372 new Covid-19 infections – the highest single-day rise in cases since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The overall case count rose to 1,38,73,825. With 1,027 more deaths in 24 hours, the toll went up to 1,72,085. Active Covid-19 cases stood at 13,65,704, while 1,23,36,036 people have recovered from the disease.
  2. The Central Board of Secondary exams for Class 10 have been cancelled and the Class 12 exams have been postponed, the government announced amid a surge in coronavirus cases in India.
  3. The Centre decided to ramp up the production of Remdesivir, the antiviral drug used for coronavirus treatment, and reduce its price amid the surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
  4. Uttar Pradesh and Delhi reported a record increase in new coronavirus cases. Despite this, voting will take place from 7 am to 6 pm in Uttar Pradesh for the panchayat elections.
  5. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the state government had approached its neighbouring states for medical oxygen supply, but they were not able to help because of its increased demand.
  6. The All India People’s Science Network, a national federation of science movements, called on the Centre to oppose “misguided vaccine nationalism”, amid demands to stop the export of doses in the middle of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.