Read the top updates of the day here:

9.05 pm: Maharashtra reports 29,911 new cases of coronavirus and 738 deaths in the last 24 hours, shows government data.

9.01 pm: Centre extends due date of filing income tax returns for 2020-21 for individuals by two months till 30 September in view of compliance problems due to Covid-19. The Central Board of Direct Taxes has also extended the ITR filing deadline for companies by a month till November 30. Here is the full list of the change in deadlines:

8.58 pm: Karnataka reports 28,869 new cases and 548 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to government data.

8.53 pm: Covaxin manufacturer Bharat Biotech says it will produce 20 crore doses of the vaccine from fourth quarter (January-March 2022) at Chiron Behring Vaccines, the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary at Ankleshwar in Gujarat, reports ANI.

8.49 pm: United States’ infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci says children aged between four and six in the country will likely get vaccinations by the end of this year or the first quarter of 2022, reports the Hindustan Times.

7.28 pm: Shortage of Amphotericin B, the drug used to treat “black fungus” infections will be resolved soon, says Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya.

“Existing pharmaceutical companies have already started ramping up the production,” tweets Mandaviya. Indian Companies have also placed orders for importing 6 lakh vials of Amphotericin B. Within three days, five more pharma companies have got new drug approval for producing it in India, in addition to the existing six pharma companies.”

7.25 pm: Punjab government will reach out directly to all vaccine manufacturers for direct purchase of shots, including Sputnik V and those manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, says Chief Minister Amarainder Singh’s office.

7.23 pm: Kerala reports 30,491 new cases of coronavirus and 128 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to ANI.

7.21 pm: Punjab government announces social security pension of Rs 1,500 per month and free education up to graduation level for children who have lost both their parents due to Covid-19. The measure will also be applicable for families that have lost their breadwinning member.

7.18 pm: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights writes to Indian Council of Medical Research requesting to share guidelines developed for treatment and clinical management of children affected by Covid-19, reports ANI.

5.56 pm: Eight states in the country have more than one lakh active cases of coronavirus, says health ministry.

5.52 pm: Indian Council of Medical Research issues advisory for use of home testing kit for Covid-19. People need to conduct the test and upload image of the test on a mobile app, following which results will be provided, reports ANI.

5.49 pm: Oral drug 2-DG cleared for emergency use in the treatment of Covid-19 was earlier used for cancer treatment, says Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava, reports ANI.

5.47 pm: Uttar Pradesh reports 6725 new cases and 238 deaths in the last 24 hours, shows government data. The active case count stands at 1,16,434.

5.46 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urges hospitals to use steroids in controlled amount to curb cases of “black fungus”, reports ANI. “We hope Centre will provide us sufficient number of injections for treating black fungus,” says Kejriwal.

5.42 pm: Andhra Pradesh reports 22,610 new cases and 114 deaths in the last 24 hours, shows government data.

3.24 pm: Tamil Nadu declares “black fungus” a notifiable disease, ANI reports, quoting the state’s health secretary. The state has so far recorded nine cases of the fungal infection.

3.20 pm: Naveet Wig, chairperson of Covid-19 task force at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi says the country cannot be lagging behind for children’s protection, reports ANI. “After the vaccine quantity and safety data are available for children, vaccines will be administered,” Wig says.

3.12 pm: Delhi reports 3,231 new cases of coronavirus and 233 deaths due to the infection in the last 24 hours, shows government data. This is the lowest single-day rise in number of cases since April 1, according to NDTV. Positivity rate falls to 5.50%.

2.21 pm: Pune-based company Mylab Solutions receives Indian Council for Medical Research approval for India’s first self-use Rapid Antigen Test kit for COVID-19, “CoviSelf”, reports ANI.

“If you test positive via this there’s no need for RT-PCR test as per ICMR,” says Mylab Director Sujeet Jain. “It takes two minutes to conduct test and 15 minutes to get result. It will be available by end of next week in more than seven lakh pharmacies and our online pharmacy partners across India. Our target is to reach 90% pin codes in India.”

2.17 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says four cases of “black fungus” have so far been detected in the state, reports ANI.

2.14 pm: Congress President Sonia Gandhi writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to consider providing free education in Navodaya Vidyalaya to children who lost both their parents or an earning member of the family due to Covid-19.

2.07 pm: Union Health Ministry asks states to make post-Covid complication mucormycosis, or “black fungus”, a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, reports ANI.

2.02 pm: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to consider providing free education at the Navodaya Vidhyalayas to children who have lost either both parents or the earning parent due to the coronavirus pandemic.

2.01 pm: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says the coronavirus crisis is a global challenge that requires nothing less than global solutions, reports ANI. “If India is to make real contribution to Asian and global economic recovery, it can start by helping itself,” says the Union minister. “Even while Covid-19 was ongoing last year, bold reforms were taken in industry, agriculture, labour and education.”

1.57 pm: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar calls the coronavirus pandemic a “black swan event”, reports ANI. At an event, he says that the long term impact of the pandemic on the global order and future of Asia is yet to be comprehended.

“This Covid pandemic is the most serious in living memory but it should be seen as recurring challenge not as a one of,” he adds. “It demands international cooperation on a scale that could not have been conceived of earlier. No national capacity however large is adequate.”

12.53 pm: Modi says: “Vaccine wastage is also a major issue. We must stop it at all costs. A single wastage means not providing security to an individual. Work out on your strategy on rural-urban specific way.”

12.52 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to district authorities on the Covid-19 situation.

11.12 am: The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Centre issues new guidelines to stop the transmission of the coronavirus.

Apart from physical distancing and the use of masks, the advisory highlights that ventilation can decrease the risk of transmission from one infected person to the other.

“Ventilation is a community defense that protects all of us at home or at work,” the advisory says. “Introducing outdoor air in offices, homes and larger public spaces is advised. Measures to improve ventilation in these spaces must be taken up on urgent priority in urban and rural areas alike, recommendations for hutments, homes, offices and large centralised buildings are given.

The scientific adviser adds that saliva and nasal discharged in the form of droplets and aerosols arr the primary mode of virus transmissions. “People should continue wearing a mask, wear double masks or a N95 mask,” it adds.

11.01 am: American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi urge United States President Joe Biden to sent 6 crore vaccine doses to India, ANI reports.

10.55 am: India tested more than 20.55 lakh samples for the coronavirus on Wednesday, the highest daily number so far.

10.49 am: NITI Aayog Vice-Chairperson Rajiv Kumar says the second wave of the coronavirus took India by surprise but the government responded to the situation well, News18 reports.

“The government has taken extraordinary steps to ramp up the production of oxygen and transportation of supplies,” Kumar claims. “Due to the hard work of a lot of people, we were able to contain the peak.”

Kumar also defends the government’s decision to continue with the Central Vista project in the middle of India’s devastating coronavirus crisis. He claims that the amount spent on the project is very little compared to the investments made in the health sector.

10.46 am: Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Jagannath Pahadia dies due to Covid-19, PTI reports. He was 89.

10.43 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with districts magistrates from Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, ANI reports.

9.20 am: India reports 2,76,110 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking the total count of infections to 2,57,72,440 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The country’s toll rises to 2,87,122 as it records 3,874 deaths in the last day.

India’s count of active cases stood at 31,29,878 while the number of recoveries reached 2,23,55,440.

Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

9.16 am: Singapore asks Twitter and Facebook to issue a correction related to a false statement about a new variant of the coronavirus originating in the city-state, Reuters reports.

Also read: Covid: ‘Delhi CM does not speak for India,’ says S Jaishankar as Singapore objects to remarks

9.15 am: Hospitals in Delhi say at least 185 coronavirus patients have contracted the black fungus infection, the Hindustan Times reports.

9.12 am: Tamil Nadu will begin vaccinating those in the 18-44 age group from Thursday, The News Minute reports.

9.07 am: Here are the top updates from Wednesday:

  1. India registered 2,67,334 new coronavirus cases, taking the total count of infections to 2,54,96,330 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The country reported 4,529 deaths, its highest single-day toll. This pushed the overall fatality count to 2,83,248.
  2. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan claimed India will be able to vaccinate at least all of its adult population by the end of 2021.
  3. India approved its first home testing kit for the coronavirus. It will cost Rs 250 and provide results within 15 minutes
  4. The Centre said individuals who have recovered from the coronavirus infection should wait for three months before getting vaccinated. The new set of guidelines also cleared vaccination for all lactating women, while adding that the matter of inoculating pregnant women was under discussion by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization.
  5. Rajasthan declared mucormycosis, or “black fungus”, an epidemic in the state. The infection which was initially detected among Covid patients in Gujarat and Maharashtra, has now spread to other parts of the country as well.