A look at the top Covid-19 developments of the day:

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the coronavirus was spreading fast in rural India and urged villagers to take necessary precautions, including wearing mask. He also urged states to take action against black-marketing of medicines and essential supplies.
  2. India on Friday registered 3,43,144 new Covid-19 infections in 24 hours and 4,000 fatalities. This pushed the country’s case count to 2,40,46,809 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The toll rose to 2,62,317.
  3. Pharmaceutical firm Dr Reddy’s Laboratories said Russian made coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V will be priced at Rs 948, with 5% Goods and Services Tax per dose. The total amounts to Rs 995.5.The prices were announced the day the first dose of Sputnik V was administered in Hyderabad as part of a limited pilot exercise.
  4. The Telangana High Court stayed a state government order that barred the entry of ambulances from neighbouring states without a scheduled hospital admission. On Friday alone, 40 to 60 ambulances were reportedly turned away.
  5. A public interest litigation was filed before the Supreme Court, seeking to set up a special investigating team to supervise the inquiry into around 100 corpses found floating in the river Ganga in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
  6. Delhi reported 8,506 new infections and 289 deaths in 24 hours on Friday. This was the first time in the last few weeks that the city’s daily count had fallen under the 10,000-mark, said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The city now has a total of 13,80,981 infections, while the toll stood at 20,907. The positivity rate came down to 12.40%.
  7. The Delhi Police questioned Srinivas BV, the national president of the youth wing of Congress, in connection with alleged “illegal distribution” of Covid-19 relief material.
  8. A report published by Gujarati newspaper Divya Bhaskar revealed the extent of underreporting of Covid-19 deaths by the state government amid the devastating second wave of the pandemic. Meanwhile, 74 coronavirus patients died at the Goa Medical College and Hospital in the past four days allegedly due to a lack of medical oxygen. However, the state government has refuted this claim.
  9. Out of 150 Australian citizens who were supposed to fly back home on the first repatriation flight out of India, over 40 have tested positive for Covid-19 and therefore been removed from the passenger list.
  10. Globally, the coronavirus has now infected 16.08 crore people and killed over 33.40 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, United States’ top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci backed India’s decision to extend the gap between two doses of the Covishield vaccine, and said it was a “reasonable approach” to take when faced with a shortage of vaccines.