11.04 pm: Former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee recovers from coronavirus, reports ANI, citing Kolkata’s Woodlands Hospital, where he was admitted for treatment. The hospital says that he will be in isolation.

11.03 pm: Karnataka records 16,387 new Covid-19 cases, 21,199 recoveries and 463 deaths in the last 24 hours, reports ANI.

10.58 pm: United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson says nothing in data shows that a delay in easing lockdown restrictions would be necessary, reports PTI. Johnson, however, says that there is a rise in infections from the Delta variant of Covid-19, which was first identified in India. “Don’t forget we always said the unlocking steps that we’ve taken would lead to increases in infection,” he adds.

10.56 pm: Over 8,700 people were killed on railway tracks last year even though passenger train services were curtailed due to the countrywide coronavirus lockdown, reports PTI, citing data from the Indian Railway board. Officials say that most of the deceased were were migrant workers.

10.54 pm: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court says that mucormycosis, or “black fungus”, is no more a rare disease in the district, reported the Hindustan Times. It directs the Centre and the state government to take all steps to ensure that there is an adequate supply of medicines for the treatment of the fungal infection.

10.34 pm: The Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court tells the Centre to replace any ventilators supplied to Maharashtra if they are found to be defective, reports NDTV. The bench asserts that it will not allow experiments to be carried out on Covid-19 patients as faulty ventilators can result in deaths.

9.12 pm: The Indian Medical Association says that 594 doctors have died in the second coronavirus wave, reports PTI. The association says that the maximum number of fatalities was recorded in Delhi.

9.08 pm: Haryana reports 1171 new coronavirus cases, taking the infection tally in the state to 7,59,039 since the pandemic broke out in January last year, reports ANI. With 78 deaths, the toll climbs to 8461. There are 14,668 active cases.

9.06 pm: Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation says vaccination will be stopped at government and municipal centres on June 3 due to a shortage of vaccines, reports ANI.

9.01 pm: The Gujarat government allows shops to open in 36 cities from Friday between 9 am and 6 pm, reports ANI, citing the chief minister’s office. The CM’s office says that home delivery of food is allowed till 10 pm. Night curfew will be imposed in these cities between 9 pm and 6 am from Friday till June 11.

8.59 pm: Mumbai records 925 Covid-19 cases, 31 deaths and 1,632 recoveries in the last 24 hours, reports ANI. The number of active cases stands as 16,580.

8.52 pm: Here are the daily Covid-19 figures of a few states

  • Manipur: 729 new cases, 622 recoveries and 14 deaths
  • Jammu & Kashmir: 1,718 new positive cases, 3,391 recoveries and 24 deaths
  • Maharashtra: 15,169 new cases, 29,270 recoveries and 285 deaths 
  • Rajasthan: 1,276 new cases, 6,038 recoveries and 65 deaths 
  • Himachal Pradesh: 891 new cases, 29 deaths and 1,292 recoveries
  • Tamil Nadu: 25,317 new cases, 483 deaths and 32,263 recoveries
  • Telangana: 2,384 new cases, 2242 recoveries and 17 deaths 
  • Assam: 4,178 new cases, 4,389 recoveries and 61 deaths.

7.26 pm: The Supreme Court says the Centre’s immunisation policy will effectively result in expecting half of the citizens in the 18-45 age group to pay for their vaccines at private hospitals.

“However, the present system of allowing only digital registration and booking of appointment on CoWIN [platform], coupled with the current scarcity of vaccines, will ultimately ensure that initially all vaccines, whether free or paid, are first availed by the economically privileged sections of the society,” the court notes.

Read more here:

Centre’s vaccination policy ‘irrational’, says SC, questions different prices of Covishield, Covaxin

7.15 pm: A State Bank of India reports says that the third wave of the coronavirus could be as severe as the second one, reports News18. However, the reprort notes that the number of Covid-related deaths can be reduced by increasing vaccinations and improving the health infrastructure.

7.02 pm: West Bengal Higher Secondary Board forms an expert committee to discuss if Class 12 board exams can be conducted amid the prevailing Covid-19 situation, reports ANI. The panel will discuss that the way in which students will be evaluated if the exams are cancelled. It will submit its reports within 72 hours.

6.59 pm: Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad says the state government has sent a proposal to Disaster Management Authority regarding the Class 12 board examinations, reports ANI. She says the authority will take a decision in a day or two. “The health & safety of the students is our priority,” Gaikwad adds.

5.56 pm: Uttarakhand Education Minister Arvind Pandey says the Class 12 examinations in the states have been cancelled, reports ANI.

5.28 pm: Andhra Pradesh reports 12,768 new coronavirus cases, 98 deaths and 15,612 recoveries in the 24 hours, reports ANI.

5.26 pm: Liquor shops open in Jammu after a gap of one month due to a lockdown, reports India Today. Several citizens gathered at the shops without maintaining physical distancing norms.

5.19 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee calls the Centre’s statement that it will vaccinate all citizens before December a hoax, reports ANI.

“They just say baseless things,” the chief minister says. “The Centre is not sending vaccines to state government.” She asks the Centre to procure vaccines for states and give them free of cost.

5.10 pm: The police says that healthcare workers, who had gone to Torpa block in Jharkhand’s Khunti district to raise awareness about coronavirus vaccines, were attacked by villagers on Monday, reports ANI. An officer says the police were taking action against the culprit. “People fear and have misconceptions in rural areas about the vaccine,” he adds.

Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta warns citizens of engaging in such acts of violence. “We will not hesitate from taking strong action,” he says. “If any health worker is attacked, the state government will deal strictly with such mischievous elements.”

5.07 pm: Pharmaceutical firm Pfizer says that it is engaged with the Indian government towards making its coronavirus vaccine available for use in the country’s immunisation programme, reports ANI. The statement comes after India’s drug regulator waived the requirement to conduct post-launch bridging trials for foreign-made coronavirus vaccines, in a move that is expected to bolster the availability of shots.

Read more here:

Coronavirus: India eases norms for clearing foreign-made vaccines, Pfizer, Cipla likely to benefit

5.03 pm: The Supreme Court says that the Centre’s policy of giving free vaccination to the 45-plus age group and a having paid system for those below it is “prima facie arbitrary and irrational”, reports NDTV. In its order, the court asks the Centre to review its vaccination policy and “place on record a roadmap of projected availability of vaccines” till December 31.

“Courts cannot be silent spectators when constitutional rights of citizens are infringed by executive policies,” the judges write in the order.

3.52 pm: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik writes to his counterparts in all the states, seeking a consensus to demand centralised procurement of vaccines. “We can’t be competing with each other in getting vaccines,” he says. “Hence united efforts required for vaccine procurement.”

He adds: “The best available option for the government of India is to centrally procure the vaccines and distribute it among the states so that our citizens are vaccinated at the earliest.”

3.48 pm: Union minister G Kishan Reddy says everyone in India will get Covid-19 vaccine, ANI reports. “India stands third compared to other countries, in terms of vaccinating its citizens,” he says. “We have simplified import rules so private hospitals can import vaccines. Vaccination drive will run for the next 7-8 months.”

The minister adds that the government has formulated a plan to vaccinate everyone by the end of December this year and produce of 250 crore vaccine doses.

3.43 pm: Maharashtra-based Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited says it will begin producing Covaxin in eight months, ANI reports. “We’ve received approval for Covaxin production and are in talks with Bharat Biotech for further process,” the company’s Managing Director Sandeep Rathod says.

3.35 pm: Delhi records 576 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, taking its tally of infections to 14,27,439 since the pandemic broke out in January last year.

The Capital’s reports 103 deaths, which push its toll to 24,402. The positivity rate reduces to 0.78%.

3.32 pm: Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat cancel Class 12 board exams in view of the Covid-19 crisis.

1.46 pm: The Kerala Assembly unanimously passes a resolution demanding that the Centre provide free Covid-19 vaccines to the all the states, PTI reports.

“In order to fight Covid-19, we need to provide free universal vaccination which will ensure that all sections of the society are protected from the virus,” the state’s health minister Veena George, who moved the resolution, says.

1.31 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vijay Goel fasts in Delhi to demand compensation for the families of frontline workers who have died due to Covid-19, The Indian Express reports. He claims that the Delhi government is yet to disburse the compensation it announced in May last year.

1.28 pm: Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav says state boards should also cancel their examinations like CBSE and ICSE.

1.31 pm: India’s daily Covid positivity rate is now 6.57%, the government says. It adds that the figure has been less than 10% for nine consecutive days. The country’s daily cases have been below 2 lakh for six days.

1.17 pm: The health ministry says it has so far provided over 23 crore vaccine doses to the states and union territories. “Of this, the total consumption, including wastages is 21,71,44,022 doses (as per data available at 8 AM today),” it adds. “More than 1.64 crore doses still available with States/UTs to be administered.”

11.58 am: Puducherry records 867 new cases and 17 deaths on Wednesday, PTI reports. Its total count of cases rises to 1,06,299, while toll is 1,567.

11.56 am: Government employees in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad district will not receive their salaries unless they are vaccinated, PTI reports.

11.45 am: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is recovering after testing positive for the coronavirus disease in April, says there should be a universal, free vaccination policy in India.

11.37 am: Australia’s Victoria state will extend its Covid-19 lockdown by a week in view of the rise in cases, the BBC reports.

11.29 am: The Drugs Controller General of India waives off the requirement for foreign companies to conduct post-approval bridging trials of their vaccines in India and to test every batch if they have been approved by the regulators of specific countries or the World Health Organization for emergency use.

9.30 am: On Tuesday, the World Health Organization said that only one coronavirus strain, named the Delta variant, that was first reported in India was now considered to be “of concern”. Two other strains of the virus were now downgraded.

Also read:

Coronavirus strain first detected in India to be called ‘Delta variant’, says WHO

9.25 am: In 24 hours, India records 1,32,788 new Covid-19 infections, taking the country’s tally since cases cropped up in January 2020 to 2,83,07,832. As many as 3,207 more fatalities, pushes the toll to 3,35,102.

9.20 am: Till Tuesday, 21,85,46,667 beneficiaries have been vaccinated, and 23,97,191 received their shots on Tuesday itself, according to the Union health ministry.

9.15 am: India has tested 35,00,57,330 samples for Covid-19 till June 1. Of these, 20,19,773 have been tested on Tuesday alone.

Here are the top updates from Tuesday:

  1. India reported 1,27,510 new coronavirus cases during the previous 24 hours on Tuesday. Its total count of cases since the outbreak of the pandemic last year rose to 2,81,75,044. The toll rose by 2,795 to 3,31,895.
  2. The Centre clarified that no changes have been made in the dosage regimen of coronavirus vaccine, Covishield, as far as the number of shots were concerned. Niti Aayog (Health) member VK Paul also said that the research on mixing of vaccines was still underway and directed health workers to keep following the existing standard operating procedure.
  3. Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical company Biological E said it has entered a licensing agreement with Providence Therapeutics Holdings to manufacture the Canadian company’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine in India.
  4. The Central Board of Secondary Education and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations on Tuesday cancelled the Class 12 board exams in view of the coronavirus situation across the country. In April, both the CBSE and the CISCE had cancelled the exams for Class 10.
  5. A national expert group has found that the coronavirus infection in children may take two forms. In the first form, symptoms like infection, cough, fever and pneumonia may occur, followed in some cases by hospitalisation. In the second case, 2-6 weeks after getting an asymptomatic, the patient may show symptoms like fever, body rash, and inflammation of eyes or conjunctivitis, breathing troubles, diarrhoea and vomiting. Meanwhile, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights informed the Supreme Court that 9,346 children aged 17 or less have been orphaned or abandoned during the coronavirus pandemic.