11.11 pm: Punjab records 2,206 Covid-19 cases, 4,512 patient recoveries and 91 deaths in the past 24 hours, reports ANI.

11.10 pm: The White House says it will lift the Defense Production Act ratings on the AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Sanofi Covid-19 vaccines, reports ANI.

11.04 pm: Chandigarh’s Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research says that former Indian sprinter Milkha Singh has been admitted to the intensive care unit in the Covid-19 hospital of the medical institute due to dropping oxygen levels. “He has been kept under observation and is stable now,” the spokesperson of the hospital says.

10.59 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajkumar Sharma writes to a police station in-charge in Jaipur, requesting to file a first information report against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on media reports about Covid-19 vaccine wastage in the state, reports ANI.

9.44 pm: Here are the daily Covid-19 figures of a few states and Union Territories:

  • Telangana: 2,261 new cases, 18 deaths and 3,043 recoveries 
  • Maharashtra: 15,229 new cases, 307 deaths and 25,617 recoveries 
  • Kerala: 18,853 new cases, 153 deaths and 26,569 recoveries 
  • Tamil Nadu: 24,405 new cases, 460 deaths and 32,221 recoveries
  • Karnataka: 18,324 new cases, 514 deaths and 24,036 recoveries
  • Madhya Pradesh: 846 new cases, 50 deaths and 3,726 recoveries
  • Jammu & Kashmir: 1,801 new cases, 29 deaths and 2,694 recoveries  

9.40 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he “deeply appreciates” the assurance of Covid-19 vaccine supplies to India as part of United States’ Strategy for Global Vaccine Sharing.

Modi makes the statement after speaking with US Vice President Kamala Harris. “We also discussed ongoing efforts to further strengthen India-US vaccine cooperation, and the potential of our partnership to contribute to post-Covid global health and economic recovery,” the prime minister adds.

9.37 pm: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma says that the state will receive 19 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses in June, reports ANI. Sarma says it received 13 lakh vaccines in May.

9.19 pm: United States President Joe Biden announces that the country will share over 6 million, or 60 lakh, Covid-19 vaccine doses with India, Canada, Mexico, and other countries, says White House.

9.06 pm: United States President Joe Biden says that the country will share 80 million, or 8 crore, of its Covid-19 vaccine supply with the rest of the world, reports ANI. “Out of this, nearly 19 million [1.9 crore] will be shared through COVAX, including approximately 6 million [60 lakh] doses for Latin America & Caribbean, approximately 7 million [70 lakh] for South and Southeast Asia, and approximately 5 million [50 lakh] for Africa.

7.20 pm: Reliance Industries is working on a new Covid-19 drug and cheaper testing kits, reports NDTV. The company is exploring to use a tapeworm drug, niclosamide, as a cure for the coronavirus, according to its annual report.

7.17 pm: Tata Steel says it has provided 300 oxygen concentrators to the Jharkhand government to help in its fight against the second wave of Covid-19, reports India Today. The oxygen concentrators were imported from the United States and China.

7.16 pm: Bharat Biotech says that the company and biopharmaceutical company Ocugen Inc, its US partner for Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin, have agreed to expand their agreement to commercialise the jab in Canada, reports Mint.

7.11 pm: Mumbai civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, says that the Dharavi area registered only one Covid-19 case, reports ANI. There are 19 active cases in the area, it adds.

7.08 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa says the lockdown was extended because the Covid-19 situation was bad in the state, reports ANI. “I am hoping that everything will be fine after one week,” he adds.

7.04 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tells school students during an interaction that they were taught about team spirit and they got to see the same in the second wave of Covid-19 through public participation and teamwork, reports ANI.

“We saw new examples of team spirit during India’s fight against Covid-19,” Modi tells students. “Today, every Indian is saying that we will emerge victorious from the pandemic. I am confident that you all will take the country to newer heights.”

7.01 pm: Protests erupt across several cities in Brazil with agitators banging pots, days after similar agitations were held the country over the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, reports Reuters.

Brazil on Wednesday recorded around 1 lakh Covid-19 positive cases and 2,507 deaths. The country is badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic and holds the third spot in terms of infections with 1,77,20,081 cases, only behind the United States and India. It has so far reported 4,67,706 deaths.

6.35 pm: Uttar Pradesh reports 1,268 new cases and 108 deaths in the last 24 hours, shows government data.

6.32 pm: Foreign ministry spokesperson says the government expects countries to ease travel restrictions on Indians as the Covid-19 situation normalises, reports ANI.

6.20 pm: Chief Economic Adviser KV Subramanian says the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has affected the momentum of economic recovery, reports ANI.

“We expect a recovery in the economy from July,” says Subramanian. “Now, States have started removing restrictions and if we speedup vaccination our economy will start recovering.”

He reiterates that India will be able to vaccinate all citizens by December.

“If we vaccinate people in three shifts each day, then, we can vaccinate 1 crore people in a day. This is definitely ambitious, but not impossible,” says Subramanian.

5.15 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announces extension of lockdown in the state extended till June 14, reports NDTV.

5.01 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa says that his government will administer more than 60 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccine in June, reports PTI. “With 1.41 Crore doses administered so far, Karnataka will complete 2 crore jabs by the end of this month,” tweets Yediyurappa. “I thank PM Narendra Modi Ji for his continued support towards Karnataka’s vaccination drive.”

4.59 pm: Maharashtra minister Vijay Wadettiwar adds that state Class 12 board examinations have been cancelled, reports ANI.

4.57 pm: Maharashtra minister Vijay Wadettiwar says that the state government has prepared a five-level plan to ease lockdown restrictions on the basis of positivity rate and status of occupancy of oxygen beds in the districts, reports ANI. Wadewittar says the districts with the lowest positivity rate will have no restrictions.

4.52 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi directs that every qualified and probable athlete, support staff and officials travelling to the Tokyo Olympics are vaccinated as soon as possible, his office says in a statement. Modi was reviewing India’s Olympics preparations.

4.07 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says 1.4 crore vaccine doses have been given free of cost by the state government, reports ANI.

4.04 pm: Delhi reports 487 new cases of coronavirus and 45 deaths due to the infection in the last 24 hours, reports ANI. Positivity rate drops to 0.61%.

3.17 pm: The Bombay High Court says the authorities cannot play with the lives of students by holding exams in the second wave of Covid-19, PTI reports.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni hears a petition challenging the Maharashtra government’s decision to cancel state board exams for Class 10. The petitioner says the decision is arbitrary.

“What is the manifest arbitrariness?” the court asks the petitioner. “Why do you say that these exams need to be held? Tomorrow if students get affected [with Covid-19], then who will take responsibility? Are you willing to take responsibility?”

The court observes the board exams are being cancelled across the country. “This is a matter of policy where the Executive has taken a decision,” the court says. “It may appear as foolish to you [the petitioner] or sometimes even us, but that is no ground for us to interfere. The only ground where we can interfere is when there is manifest arbitrariness and the decision infringes upon a person’s fundamental right.”

3.13 pm: The Bihar government launches “Vaccine Express” for urban areas. As many as 121 vaccination vans will move across cities to inoculate beneficiaries, All India Radio reports.

3.08 pm: At least five senior Air India pilots died due to Covid-19 in May, The Indian Express reports.

3.06 pm: The Delhi High Court issues summons to yoga guru Ramdev on a case filed by the Delhi Medical Association seeking to restrain him from giving false information on Coronil, a product manufactured by his firm Patanjali Ayurved. Ramdev claims Coronil can cure the coronavirus disease in seven days, even though there is no firm scientific evidence to back it.

Read more here: Delhi HC summons Ramdev in case seeking to restrain him from giving false information on Coronil

3.02 pm: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla says the government is in talks with vaccine makers Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna about sourcing and possibly manufacturing doses in India. “We have also helped to expedite the introduction of Sputnik-V vaccines,” he adds.

2.59 pm: The Indian Medical Association says 624 doctors have died due to Covid-19 in the second wave of the pandemic, ANI reports.

2.57 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gautam Gambhir’s foundation stocked and distributed Fabiflu, a medicine used for the treatment of Covid-19, in an unauthorised manner, the Drug Control Department of Delhi tells High Court, Bar and Bench reports.

2.56 pm: Three accused in the Bhima Koregaon case – Mahesh Raut, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor – test positive for the coronavirus disease, The Hindu reports.

2.51 pm: The Centre issues guidelines for the care of children infected by Covid-19 as well as those whose caregivers are unwell or have died due to the disease, PTI reports.

State governments have been asked to conduct surveys to identify children in distress and prepare a database with the profile of each child. This will have details of their requirements and will be uploaded on the Track Child portal, according to the news agency.

2.43 pm: Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar says the city will receive 87,000 doses of Covishield on Friday, after which the vaccination drive will resume, PTI reports.

The inoculation drive at centres run by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the Maharashtra government are closed because of the unavailability of doses.

12.29 pm: Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain says the city has recorded 1,044 cases of mucormycosis or “black fungus”, reports ANI. So far, 92 people have recovered and 89 people have died due to the fungal infection, he adds.

12.20 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah claims that the government has collectively controlled a raging second wave of pandemic in little time, reports ANI.

11.46 am: The Central Board of Secondary Education and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education tell the Supreme Court that they will decide in two weeks the criteria to evaluate Class 12 students after board exams were cancelled in view of the coronavirus crisis, Bar and Bench reports.

10.58 am: The United States could announce on Thursday its plan to distribute 80 million (8 crore) vaccine doses globally, Reuters reports.

10.55 am: The Maharashtra government launches “My Village Corona Free” contest to encourage measures being taken to curb the infection in rural areas, PTI reports.

Three village panchayats will be given prizes for managing the Covid-19 situation well. The first prize will be Rs 50 lakh, second Rs 25 lakh and third Rs 15 lakh.

10.47 am: United States President Joe Biden launches an effort to ensure that 70% of adults in the country get at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by the July 4 Independence Day holiday, Reuters reports.

In his message to the people, Biden says: “Get a shot, have a beer. We need everyone across the country to pull together to get us over the finish line. I promise you, we can do this.”

10.42 am: As many as 2,382 police officers in Uttarakhand have tested positive for Covid-19 in the second wave of the pandemic, The Indian Express reports. Data accessed by the newspaper shows that 93% of them had received both doses of the vaccine. Among those infected with Covid-19, 2,204 have recovered, while five have died.

10.36 am: The Delhi Police arrest four people from Bihar for allegedly cheating the families of Covid-19 patients on the pretext of delivering oxygen cylinders at home, ANI reports.

10.33 am: India tested more than 21 lakh samples for Covid-19 on Wednesday. The total number of tests done so far rises to 35,37,82,648.

9.25 am: India reports 1,34,154 new coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s tally since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 2,84,41,986. The toll rises by 2,887 to 3,37,989. As many as 2,63,90,584 people have recovered from the infection. India now has 17,13,413 active cases of the coronavirus.

9.15 am: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Rajya Sabha MP P Wilson urges Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to not insist on CoWin registration and Aadhaar for those who are homeless and vulnerable, reports The New Indian Express.

9.09 am: The Union government has booked 30 crore doses of Hyderabad-based Biological-E’s coronavirus vaccine, which is undergoing Phase-3 clinical trials, reports NDTV.

The health ministry will make an advance payment of Rs 1,500 crore to the company. This will be the second indigenous vaccine to be used in the country after Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

9.05 am: The Indian envoy in the United States is meeting the CEOs of top American companies, particularly from the pharmaceutical sector, to help New Delhi get the necessary medical equipment and drugs to successfully combat the coronavirus crisis, reports PTI.

A look at the developments from Wednesday:

  • India recorded 1,32,788 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s tally since the outbreak in January 2020 to 2,83,07,832. As many as 3,207 more fatalities, pushed the toll to 3,35,102.
  • The Supreme Court said that the Centre’s policy to provide free vaccination for priority groups and replacing it with a paid process for those in the 18-45 age group was “prima facie arbitrary and irrational”.
  • The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court said that the Centre would be responsible for any deaths that occur due to faulty ventilators that the government has provided.
  • India may be hit by a third wave of the coronavirus disease, which is just as severe as the second one and could last for 98 days, a report released by the State Bank of India showed.
  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to his counterparts in all the states, seeking their consensus to demand the Centre to procure coronavirus vaccines for them.
  • The Kerala Assembly unanimously passed a resolution urging the Centre to provide free Covid-19 vaccines to all the states in a timely manner, amid shortages of doses in the middle of the second wave of the pandemic.