Here are the day’s top updates

8.45 pm: Vietnam Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long says authorities have detected a new coronavirus variant in the country that is a combination of the one first detected in India and the United Kingdom, reports Reuters.

“That the new one is an Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the UK variant is very dangerous,” he says at a government meeting. The health minister says this new variant was more transmissible than the previously known types. Vietnam will publish the genome data of this variant soon, he adds.

6.25 pm: BJP leader Rajkumar Agrawal says he has been trying for a month to get an first information report filed against a hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow for alleged negligence after his son died due to the coronavirus disease, reports PTI.

The MLA from Sandila in Hardoi district adds that he had also written letters complaining about the hospital to the chief minister and health minister.

6.22 pm: Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy tells the Karnataka government to prioritise vaccination of those flying abroad to study in foreign universities as many countries have made full inoculation against the coronavirus mandatory.

He also points out that states like Maharashtra and Kerala have taken measures to vaccinate students on priority.

6.20 pm: The Ministry of Civil Aviation has decided to raise the lower limit on domestic airfares from 13% to 16%, which will make tickets costlier, reports ANI. This will come into effect from June 1.

6.16 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announces that the lockdown in the state has been extended till June 9, reports ANI. He adds that the “triple lockdown” in Malappuram district, with stringent measures in place to contain the Covid-19, has been withdrawn.

6.15 pm: Kerala reports 23,513 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally of active infections since the pandemic broke out last year to 2,33,034, according to ANI. The toll jumps by 198 to 8,456.

4.50 pm: Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi urges the Centre to vaccinate pregnant women.

3.31 pm: Delhi reports 956 cases and 122 deaths in a day. The Capital now has a total of 14,24,646 infections, while the toll is 24,073. The positivity rate is 1.19%.

This is the first time that the daily cases have gone below since 1,000 since March 22, according to PTI. On that day, Delhi had reported 888 infections.

3.29 pm: Visuals of random testing being done in West Delhi.

3.27 pm: Goa extends its lockdown till 7 am on June 7, ANI reports. Initially imposed from May 17 to May 23, it was extended till May 31.

3.22 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurates a drive-in vaccination centre at Chhatrasal Stadium.

3.20 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa says the state has not yet taken a call on extending the lockdown. The current lockdown will be in place till June 7 morning.

3.18 pm: Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya says the production of antiviral injection remdesivir has been ramped up ten times since April. Around 33,000 vials were being produced on April 10, while it has now gone up to 3,50,000 vials a day, he says.

“We have also increased the number of plants producing Remdesivir from just 20 to 60 plants within a month,” Mandaviya says. “Now the country has enough #Remdesivir as the supply is much more than the demand. So we have decided to discontinue the Central Allocation of Remdesivir to States.”

He adds that he has directed the National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Agency and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation to continuously monitor the availability of remdesivir. “Government of India has also decided to procure 50 lakh vials of #Remdesivir to maintain it as a strategic stock for the emergency requirement,” he adds.

3.15 pm: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray asks the Women and Child Development Department to create a policy for children who have lost either one or both their parents due to the pandemic, ANI reports.

3.11 pm: Assam MLA Leho Ram Boro dies of the coronavirus disease at a hospital in Guwahati on Saturday, PTI reports. The 63-year-old legislator was a member of the United People’s Party Liberal.

Boro is the second sitting MLA to die of the coronavirus this week. On Wednesday, four-time Gossaigaon MLA Majendra Narzary, of the Bodoland People’s Front, died due to post-Covid complications.

3 pm: Delhi will receive 5.5 lakh Covid vaccines from the Centre for the 18-44 age group in June, says Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, according to PTI. But this would not be provided before June 10.

He claims that the Centre is “sitting on” the vaccine distribution system and alleges mismanagement by the Modi government. He also asks how private hospitals are getting vaccines even though states have been told that there are no stocks.

2.57 pm: “More than 1.82 crore (1,82,21,403) COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs to be administered,” the health ministry says, according to PTI. “Furthermore, 4,86,180 vaccine doses are in the pipeline and will be received by the states and UTs within the next 3 days.”

The Centre has so far provided more than 22.77 crore doses to states and Union territories, the ministry says, adding that 20,80,09,397 doses have been consumed till 8 am on Saturday. This includes wastages.

2.55 pm: Senior Congress leader and former Chhattisgarh minister Shakrajit Nayak dies in Raipur due to post-Covid complications, PTI reports. He was 78.

2.25 pm: The Andhra Pradesh government has turned the state Road Transport Corporation buses into Covid-19 treatment facilities for those who live in remote areas, reports The News Minute.

2.21 pm: Top officers of Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar have pledged to make it India’s first completely-vaccinated district against Covid-19, reports PTI.

2.20 pm: Migrant workers in Bengaluru have been tackling hunger amid the lockdown with little government assistance, reports The News Minute.

2.16 pm: The Madhya Pradesh High Court has reiterated its earlier order that no resident found not wearing mask or not following physical distancing guidelines should be beaten up, reports Live Law.

2.04 pm: The Indian Premier League will be held in the United Arab Emirates in September and October, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has announced.

Read more here:

IPL 2021 to be completed in UAE in September and October: BCCI

2.02 pm: The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday pulled up the Centre for filing an affidavit defending the manufacturers of faulty ventilators reportedly sent under the PM CARES initiative.

Read more here:

Coronavirus: Bombay HC raps Centre for defending faulty ventilators under PM CARES

1.53 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin announces financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh to children who have lost both their parents due to Covid-19, reports ANI.

1.51 pm: Delhi court reserves order on bail plea of businessman Navneet Kalra accused for hoarding and black marketing of oxygen concentrators, reports ANI.

1.37 pm: Delhi has reported around 900 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, says Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, reports ANI. He says it is the first time in the second wave that the city has logged less than 1,000 cases in a day.

1.33 pm: European Union health regulator European Medicines Agency approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those aged 12-15 years, reports BBC. The vaccine is the first one to be allowed in this age group.

12.17 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan writes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to take steps to ensure that the central government gets a continuous supply of vaccines “so that the balance of vaccines can be supplied matching with the pace of Kerala’s vaccination potential”, reports PTI.

12.13 pm: Saturday’s number of new infections is the lowest in 45 days, reports PTI.

12 pm: Andamans reports more Covid-19 recoveries than new cases as 39 people recuperate from the disease and 19 new infections have been recorded, reports PTI.

11.45 am: Ladakh registers two more Covid-related deaths and 124 new cases, taking the Union Territory’s case count to 18,310 and the death toll to 187, officials say.

11 am: Britain’s medicine regulator approves coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson, for use, reports Reuters. The government has also cut its order for vaccines by one crore doses.

10.56 am: Kerala Health Department allows those travelling abroad to take the second dose of Covishield vaccine after four to six weeks of the first one, as against the existing recommended interval of 12-16 weeks, reports The Indian Express.

Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray says those who have received confirmation of admission in universities abroad, can get vaccinated for free through walk-in registration at three centres in Mumbai between May 31 and June 2.

10.52 am: Delhi government floats global tender for procurement of 1 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine, reports PTI. The bidders have been asked to submit their offer or expression of interest through e-mail by 5 pm on June 7.

10.46 am: Lucknow’s Medanta Hospital says condition of Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan is critical and he is on oxygen support, reports ANI.

Khan had tested positive for Covid-19 on May 9 and was admitted to the hospital.

9.47 am: Foreign Minister S Jaishankar holds talks with his United States counterpart Antony Blinken, reports PTI. The minister thanks the Joe Biden-led administration for its “strong support and solidarity” with India at a moment of “great difficulty” for the country in combating the pandemic.

9.42 am: India reports 1,73,790 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours on Friday morning, taking the overall tally to 2,77,29,247 since the pandemic first broke out in January 2020. The toll rises by 3,617 to 3,22,512, while the active caseload stands at 22,28,724.

(Source: Health ministry)

Here are the updates from Friday:

  1. The Centre and state governments could not reach a consensus in a Goods and Services Tax Council meeting on Friday, on whether to provide tax relief on items, such as vaccines and other medical supplies needed to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.
  2. India reported 1,86,364 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, taking the overall tally to 2,75,55,457 since the pandemic first broke out in January 2020. The toll rose by 3,660 to 31,88,95, while the active caseload stood at 23,43,152.
  3. The central government asserted that everyone in India will be completely vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of 2021.
  4. The United Kingdom on Friday approved the single-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. With this, the UK will now have four vaccines to fight against Covid-19.
  5. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not understood the severity of the Covid-19 crisis. “My understanding and the understanding of experts is the current rate of vaccination of 3% almost guarantees a third wave of virus when the lockdown goes, which is completely unnecessary,” he added.
  6. The Tamil Nadu government extended the lockdown in the state by one more week till 6 am on June 7The supply of vegetables and fruits will continue through government departments. The government said that groceries will be sold through vehicles or pushcarts in association with local shops. Home delivery would be allowed for orders taken online or on the telephone between 7 am and 6 pm.