Covid LIVE: Tamil Nadu sees 15,759 new cases in a day; 8,249 in Karnataka

FILE PIC: A health worker inspects Covid patients undergoing treatment
Coronavirus live updates: India's daily Covid-19 cases remained below the 100,000 today, however, the daily death record again saw a spike. The country reported 91,702 new infections today and 3,403 new deaths, taking the total number of confirmed infections in India to 29,273,338 and deaths to 363,097, said the health ministry this morning.

With 16,813 cases reported in the past 24 hours, Tamil Nadu is leading the state list. It is followed by Kerala with 14,424 new infections. Maharashtra reported 12,207 cases. Karnataka 11,042, and Andhra Pradesh 8,110 cases. Delhi reported 305 fresh cases and West Bengal 5,384.

The five most affected states by total cases are Maharashtra (5,876,087), Karnataka (2,739,290), Kerala (2,688,590), Tamil Nadu (2,308,838), Andhra Pradesh (1,787,883).

World coronavirus update: Covid-19 is continuing to spread around the world, with more than 175.6 million confirmed cases and 3,788,152 deaths across nearly 200 countries recorded since China reported its first cases to the World Health Organization (WHO) in December 2019. The US remains the worst-hit country with 34,274,298, followed by India, Brazil, France and Turkey.



Despite fall in positivity rate, bed occupancy, level-3 curbs to continue in Mumbai

Mumbai will continue to remain in the level-3 category of the Maharashtra government's plan to ease coronavirus-induced restrictions till further orders, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said on Friday night.
Considering the possible difficulties in the implementation of Covid-19 control measures, the guidelines issued on June 5, 2021, will continue as of now, it said.
The infection positivity rate in Mumbai has dipped to 4.40 per cent and oxygen bed occupancy is 27.12 per cent. Therefore, as per the state government's criteria, Mumbai can shift to the less rigorous level-2 restrictions.
But the BMC said it decided to continue with level-3 restrictions considering the city's size and population density, daily arrival of a huge number of commuters from other parts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and the India Meteorological Department's warning of very heavy rainfall in the next few days.
Under the level-3 restrictions, both essential and non-essential shops are allowed to remain open till 4 pm, but malls, theatres and multiplexes remain closed. Also, only essential services staff and government staff are permitted to travel on suburban local trains.
As per the state government''s notification, municipal corporations and districts with positivity rate below 5 per cent and oxygen bed occupancy rate between 25 to 40 per cent are categorised under level 2.

UN leader: Developing nations need more vaccines

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has welcomed commitments by the US and Britain to share millions of coronavirus vaccine shots with struggling countries. But he says it's not enough.
Without a global effort, Guterres says the coronavirus could “spread like wildfire” in much of developing world.
Leaders from the Group of Seven wealthy democracies are expected to commit to share at least 1 billion vaccine shots with poorer countries, with half the doses coming from the US and 100 million from the UK.
Guterres says to defeat the virus, countries producing vaccines need to form an emergency task force to coordinate an effective response to Covid-19.
“We need a concerted effort, we need a global vaccination plan,” says Guterres, who will join the summit. “If not, the risk is there will still be large areas of the developing world where the virus spreads like wildfire.” Guterres stressed “we are on the verge of the abyss” regarding climate change. He says leaders of developing economies need to urgently commit to net zero emissions by the middle of the century.

Chicago reopens, ends most virus requirements

Officials declared Chicago fully reopened on Friday, ending a requirement that people wear face masks in most indoor places and lifting capacity limits intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Chicago sometimes veered from the state's restrictions and opted to be stricter or more lenient than the state required. But city officials decided to join the rest of Illinois in lifting restrictions Friday, nearly 15 months after Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued the first stay-at-home order as coronavirus cases began to rise.
People who aren't vaccinated must still wear a mask indoors, and everyone will still need to wear masks inside health care facilities, jails, shelters, schools, taxis, ride-hailing vehicles and on public transportation. Businesses can still opt to require people to wear masks on their premises. 

Novavax says Covid-19 vaccine shows immune response against Beta virus variant

Novavax Inc said on Friday its experimental Covid-19 vaccine showed immune response and protection against the highly contagious coronavirus variant originally identified in South Africa in a clinical trial.
The vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, is being tested in multiple trials but has yet to be authorized for use in any country.
Novavax also said studies in mice and baboons found that a different vaccine specifically targeting the South African variant now known as Beta produced immune response and protection, and that it expected to conduct further clinical testing of the Beta-focused vaccine in the fall.
The company said testing of blood serum of thirty participants of a mid-stage trial who had received both doses of NVX-CoV2373 revealed robust antibody responses to the original version of the coronavirus as well as against the Alpha variant first found in the UK and the Beta variant.
However, the response against the Beta variant was slightly less, Novavax said.
The European Medicines Agency started a rolling review of the Novavax shot in February. Data from its pivotal U.S. and Mexico trial is expected to be released in the current quarter.

Vijayan announces 100-day action plan to help Kerala tide over Covid-triggered economic slowdown

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday announced a 100-day action plan to help the state tide over the economic slowdown triggered by the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The plan will focus on increasing agricultural production, generating quality employment and augmenting health infrastructure, among other things, and would be implemented between June 11 and September 19.
The aim is to enable the building of a knowledge-based economy with a focus on science and technology and skill development, Vijayan told reporters here.
"The emphasis will be on policies and schemes to advance the achievements of health, education and social security, accelerate economic growth and create quality employment.
"Utmost importance will be given to poverty alleviation, elimination of economic and social inequalities, implementation of eco-friendly development perspective and adoption of modern solid waste management practices conducive to a healthy urban life," he said.
In addition to increasing agricultural production, the chief minister said, the production of non-toxic food is also a priority.
Vijayan said loans worth Rs 5,898 crore have been sanctioned by international financial institutions such as World Bank, German bank KFW and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for the Rebuild Kerala Initiative (RKI).

Prices of oxygen concentrators come down up to 54% after capping of trade margin

Over 24.93 crore Covid vaccine doses administered in India: Govt

The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has gone past 24.93 crore, the Union health ministry said on Friday.
It said 19,49,902 beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group received the first dose while 72,279 in the age group received the second dose of the vaccine on Friday.
Cumulatively, 3,79,67,237 people in the 18-44 age group have received the first dose and 5,58,862 have received the second dose since the start of the third phase of the vaccination drive across the country.

Punjab reports 1,230 new Covid cases, 2,071 recoveries and 59 deaths in last 24 hours

No need to panic on need for immediate change in dosage interval of Covishield: Govt

The government Friday said there is no need to panic on the need for an immediate change in the dosage interval of Covishield vaccine, underlining that reducing the time gap requires proper scientific study in the Indian scenario.
In the context of some media reports quoting recent studies that it would be better to shorten the gap between two doses of Covishield vaccine, in light of the variants in circulation, Dr V K Paul, member (Health) at NITI Aayog, said there is a need to balance such concerns.   

Jammu and Kashmir records 906 new Covid cases, 17 more deaths

Jammu and Kashmir's COVID-19 caseload increased to 3,05,772 on Friday with 906 fresh infections while the death toll climbed to 4,160 as 17 more people succumbed to the disease, officials said.
While 244 fresh cases were reported from the Jammu division, 662 were from the Kashmir division of the union territory, they said.
Srinagar district recorded the highest number of new cases at 156, followed by 92 in Budgam.

West Bengal reports 4,883 new Covid cases, 4,321 recoveries and 89 deaths in last 24 hours

West Bengal reports 4,883 new Covid cases, 4321 recoveries and 89 deaths in the last 24 hours.

G7 to pledge 1 billion coronavirus vaccine shots for poorer countries

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson greeted world leaders on a wooden boardwalk on the freshly raked sand of Carbis Bay to open the Group of Seven summit Friday, offering elbow bumps to dignitaries gathering for the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The virus was set to dominate their discussions, with leaders of the wealthy democracies club expected to commit to sharing at least 1 billion vaccine shots with struggling countries. READ MORE...

Karnataka reports 8,249 new cases, 159 deaths and 14,975 discharges in a day

Covid LIVE: Tamil Nadu sees 15,759 new cases in a day

Kerala reports 14,233 new Covid cases, 173 deaths

Kerala on Friday logged 14,233 new COVID-19 cases and 173 deaths, pushing the infection count to 26,72,798 and the toll to 10,804. A total of 15,355 people recuperated from the disease today, taking the total cured in the state to 25,57,597.
Currently, there are 1,34,001 people under treatment in the state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state had tested 1,07,096 samples in the last 24 hours and the test positivity rate was 13.29 per cent. Till now, the state had tested 2,10,17,514 samples.

Madhya Pradesh reports 397 new cases; 35 deaths; 1,240 recoveries

Madhya Pradesh's COVID-19 tally rose to 7,87,572, after 397 more persons tested positive for the infection on Friday, while the toll rose to 8,510 with 35 casualties, an official from the state health department said. This is the first time since March 2 that the state recorded less than 400 new cases.
As many as 1,240 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the count of recoveries in Madhya Pradesh to 7,73,615, the official said.
With the addition of 117 new cases, Indore's caseload went up to 1,52,341, while Bhopal's tally rose to 1,22,514 after 97 new cases were detected, he said.

Andhra Pradesh logs 8,239 new Covid cases, 61 deaths

More than 1.01 lakh sample tests turned out 8,239 fresh coronavirus cases in Andhra Pradesh, while 11,135 patients had recovered and 61 more succumbed in 24 hours ending 9 am on Friday.
The state Covid-19 chart showed 17,96,122 total positives, 16,88,198 recoveries and 11,824 deaths so far, according to the latest bulletin.
The active caseload decreased to 96,100, the bulletin said. While the overall positivity rate after 2.02 crore tests came to around 8 per cent, the recovery rate once again rose to 94 per cent, according to Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal.

Genetics, lifestyle play crucial role in Covid-19 susceptibility: Study

Genetics, immunity and life-style are among the contributing factors for COVID-19 susceptibility, an analysis by an international team of scientists said on Friday.
The study was directed by Dr Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Director, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics and Chief Scientist, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), here, and Prof Gyaneshwer Chaubey, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, a press release from CCMB said.

Tamil Nadu reports 15,759 new Covid cases, 378 deaths and 29,243 recoveries in a day

Delta variant 60% more transmissible, reduces vaccine effect: UK experts

The Delta variant of COVID-19, or the B1.617.2 variant of concern (VOC) first identified in India, is about 60 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha strain identified in the UK and also reduces the effectiveness of vaccines to some extent, UK health experts report on Friday.
Public Health England (PHE), which has been tracking VOCs on a weekly basis, said that the cases of the Delta VOC have risen by 29,892 to hit 42,323 in the country an increase of around 70 per cent.
The latest data also indicates that over 90 per cent of new COVID-19 cases in the UK are now the Delta variant, which continues to show a significantly higher rate of growth compared to the Alpha VOC which was first identified in the region of Kent in England and was the dominant variant in the country so far. READ MORE...

Free Covid vaccine drive for street vendors in Noida from June 14

A special campaign for free anti-coronavirus vaccination for street-side vendors would begin in Noida from June 14, officials said on Friday. The drive comes following an announcement by the Uttar Pradesh government to administer vaccines to street vendors across the state.
In Noida, officials said the inoculation would be done for registered vendors and will take place at the Indira Gandhi Kala Kendra. Currently there are around 3,700 registered street vendors in Noida, Noida Authority's officer on special duty Indu Prakash Singh told PTI.
The vaccination would be done free of cost during the special campaign between 10 am and 4 pm from June 14 at the Kala Kendra in Sector 6, Noida, he said. Vendors can register themselves through the Cowin app but in case they are unable to do it, they may come directly to the venue with their Aadhaar card and mobile phone for on-spot registration, he added.

Tamil Nadu lockdown extended till June 21 with more relaxations

Covid LIVE: 238 new coronavirus positive cases in Delhi

Delhi recorded 238 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest in nearly three months, and 24 fatalities on Friday, while the positivity rate dipped to 0.31 per cent, according to data shared by the health department here.
As per the latest health bulletin, these new fatalities pushed the death toll from COVID-19 here to 24,772.
On Thursday, the city had recorded 305 new cases with a positivity rate of 0.41 per cent, and 45 deaths. On March 8, Delhi had recorded 239 cases and on March 9, the tally was 320, according to official data.

Uttarakhand reports 287 new cases, 21 deaths and 1,614 recoveries today; active cases at 5,277

Uttarakhand reports 287 new cases, 21 deaths and 1,614 recoveries today; active cases at 5,277

Mumbai reports 696 new Covid cases and 24 deaths in last 24 hours

Considering issues regarding ex-gratia to kin of those who died of Covid, govt tells SC

The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that issues raised in the pleas, seeking directions for ex-gratia compensation of Rs 4,00,000 to the families of those who have died of COVID-19, are genuine and are under consideration of the government.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, requested a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah to give him some time so that he can file a reply on the pleas.
The issues are genuine and are being attended to. If the court will grant me some time, I will file a reply, Mehta told the bench. The apex court observed that as per media reports, the Bihar government has already announced that it would give Rs 4,00,000 ex-gratia to families of those who have died due to COVID-19.

Covid LIVE: Complete weekend lockdown in Kerala; 14,233 new cases

Covid LIVE: 238 new coronavirus positive cases in Delhi

Goa sees 423 Covid cases, 8 deaths, 819 recoveries

Goa's coronavirus caseload went up by 423 and reached 1,61,576 on Friday, while the day also saw eight deaths and 819 people getting discharged from hospitals, an official said.
The state's toll stands at 2,899 and the recovery count is 1,53,476, leaving it with an active caseload of 5,201, he said.
With 3,599 samples being examined in the last 24 hours, the number of tests in Goa went up to 8,61,855, the official informed. Goa's COVID-19 figures are as follows: Positive cases 1,61,576, new cases 423, death toll 2899, discharged 153476, active cases 5201, samples tested till date 8,61,855.

Covid LIVE: 8,239 new coronavirus cases in Andhra

Our regulator endorsed licensure for Covaxin: Niti Aayog's V K Paul

Will have no impact on our vaccine prog: Govt on US denying emergency approval to Covaxin

ICMR to start national sero surveys to assess Covid spread: Health ministry

The ICMR will start national-level sero surveys to assess the spread of COVID-19 and all states/UTs should also be encouraged to conduct them so that information from all geographies can be collected, the Union health ministry said on Friday.
The ministry also said that the Covid situation in the country appears to be stabilising, but urged people to continue following the appropriate behaviour and social distancing norms.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will conduct national sero surveys to assess the Covid spread and states/UTs should also conduct them to get all geographies' information, it said.

GST Council meet tomorrow; tax cut on Covid essentials, black fungus medicine on agenda

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will on Saturday chair the meeting of the GST Council, which is expected to decide on tax relief for COVID-19 essentials and black fungus medicine.
The 44th GST Council meeting will be attended by Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, besides finance ministers of states and Union territories and senior officers from Union government and states, the Union finance ministry tweeted on Friday.
The Council will discuss the report of the Group of Ministers, headed by Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, on GST concessions on COVID-19 relief items like medical grade oxygen, pulse oximeters, hand sanitisers and ventilators, among others.
Besides, GoM also looked into vaccines, drugs and medicines for COVID-19 treatment and testing kits for its detection. Some state finance ministers in the GoM are understood to have pitched for a rate cut on COVID-19 essentials.

What is Delta variant of Covid and how effective are vaccines against it?

According to Indian scientists, the Delta variant is responsible for the severe second wave in India. First identified in Maharashtra, it was previously labelled as B.1.617.2.
Because of its rapid transmission not just in India but in several other countries, the WHO graduated it from a “variant of interest” (VOI) to a “variant of concern” (VOC).
But, what sets the Delta variant apart from other strains?

Govt considering plea for Rs 4 lakh to Covid victims, Centre tells SC

The Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it was considering a plea to provide monetary compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the family members of those who have died due to Covid-19.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted before a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and M.R. Shah that the issue raised in the PILs is important, and the government would file its response in the matter.
Mehta said that the government is contemplating a national policy, and sought two weeks to file its reply.

Breaking chain of transmission ensures lesser strain on health infrastructure, better quality of care: Govt

Breaking chain of transmission ensures lesser strain on health infrastructure, better quality of care: Health Ministry

People need to follow appropriate behaviour and social distancing norms: Health Ministry

Covid situation appears to be stabilizing in India, but people need to follow appropriate behaviour & social distancing norms: Health Ministry

Break the chain of transmission by following Covid Appropriate Behaviour: Health Ministry

Need to encourage states for sero-surveys as well: Dr V K Paul

About 74% decrease in weekly Covid-19 positivity rate in India: Govt

About 74% decrease in weekly Covid-19 positivity rate since the highest such rate reported between April 30-May 6 at 21.6% in India: Govt

Almost 78% decline in Covid cases since the highest reported peak in daily new cases: Govt

Consistent increase in recovery rate observed since May 3 when it was 81.8% to 94.9% as on date: Govt

LIVE: Health Ministry addressing media on Covid-19 situation in India

SC says fixing June 16 for INI CET 2021 is arbitrary, postpones test

The Supreme Court Friday termed as "arbitrary" the fixing of June 16 for conducting INI CET 2021 and directed All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to hold the post graduate medical entrance test after one month.
A vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and M R Shah disposed of a plea filed by doctors seeking admission in PG medical and challenging the notification of fixing June 16 as date of INI CET 2021.
The bench said that having regard to the difficulty faced by the candidates due to the examination and many placed far way due to COVID duty from the examination centre, the exam needs to be postponed. READ ON...

Covid LIVE: 'Expectation to keep vaccine wastage 1% or less is reasonable'

Odisha reports 5,235 new Covid-19 cases, 43 more fatalities

Odisha's COVID-19 tally mounted to 8,42,461 on Friday as 5,235 more people tested positive for the infection, the lowest single-day rise in the last 50 days, a health department official said. Forty-three fresh fatalities due to the contagion pushed the death toll to 3,210, he said.
Of the new cases, 2,975 were reported from quarantine centres, and 2,273 detected during contact tracing. Khurda district, which comprises the state capital Bhubaneswar, reported the highest number of new cases at 726, followed by Cuttack (557) and Jajpur (394).

Asymptomatic cases in children should be taken care of under home isolation: Himachal Pradesh govt

What the world wants China to disclose in Wuhan lab leak probe

The U.S. push for a new inquiry to determine the origins of the coronavirus -- including whether it leaked from a Wuhan lab -- raises a key question: What has China failed to disclose?
The Group of Seven leaders this weekend are set to call for a fresh, transparent, World Health Organization-convened study into the origins of this virus, according to a draft statement seen by Bloomberg News. Yet so far they’ve been vague on what exactly they want. READ ON...

Sri Lanka records highest single-day Covid-19 death toll

The coronavirus death toll in Sri Lanka has crossed the 2,000-mark as the country on Thursday recorded its highest single-day fatalities with 101 deaths since the onset of the pandemic.
The death toll from the coronavirus has now reached 2,011 in Sri Lanka, which is facing a third wave of the pandemic, health officials said on Friday.
The 101 deaths reported on Thursday was the highest number of deaths confirmed in a day since the onset of the pandemic in the country in March 2020.

Govt issues guidelines to vaccine makers for minimum wastage of vials

1,400 kids orphaned in Tamil Nadu due to Covid-19 pandemic

The District Child Protection offices of Tamil Nadu have identified about 1,400 children in the state who have lost either one or both parents to the Covid-19 pandemic since the first wave hit the state.
This data compiled by the district child protection offices are as on Wednesday.
Of this 50 children are orphaned, losing both parents. The Tamil Nadu state government has announced 5 lakh to the children who are orphaned due to Covid-19. However if a person is cured of Covid-19 and dies due to post Covid complications, there is no compensation to the children who lose their parents creating a major discrepancy.

'Worse than Covid': Threat of pandemics spurs race for vaccines in 100 days

Covid-19 has been devastating. A future pandemic could be far worse.
If scientists used a scale to classify pandemics like hurricanes, the fatality rate of Covid-19 would probably make it a “category two” out of five, according to Richard Hatchett, a former White House adviser who leads the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
“What’s the worst case?” he asked. “It’s a lot worse than Covid.” READ MORE...

Over 1.17 crore Covid vaccine doses available with states: Centre

More than 1.17 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs, while over 38 lakh doses will be received by them within the next three days, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday. Over 25.60 crore vaccine doses have been provided to states and UTs so far through the Government of India (free of cost channel) and direct state procurement categories.
Of this, the total consumption, including wastage is 24,44,06,096 doses, the ministry said. A total of 1,17,56,911 COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs to be administered.
"Furthermore, 38,21,170 vaccine doses are in the pipeline and will be received by them within the next three days," the ministry said.

Supreme Court orders postponement of INI-CET 2021 exam

Ladakh reports 90 new Covid cases

Ladakh reported 90 new COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 19,475, while 160 people were discharged after getting recovered, bringing down the number of active cases to 853, officials said on Friday.
Ladakh has so far recorded 197 coronavirus-related deaths -- 143 in Leh district and 54 in Kargil district. A total of 18,425 patients have recovered from the disease so far, they said. A total of 90 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday. Out of these, 77 were in Leh and 13 in Kargil, they said.

Revised guidelines to continue in districts with high Covid positivity: Karnataka govt

Pfizer Covid-19 jabs protective against Beta, Gamma variant

US pharmaceutical Pfizer's vaccine against Covid-19 can effectively neutralise Beta, Gamma variant of the Coronavirus disease, according to a study.
The study led by researchers from the New York University, US, showed that the Pfizer BNT162b2 vaccination worked well against the majority of variants as the earlier virus, but the vaccine neutralised the South African variant and the Brazil variant with a 3-fold decrease in titer.
"Our interpretation of the results is that the vaccine antibodies are very powerful, and even if you lose 3-fold of the titer, there is still plenty of antibody there to neutralize the virus. We believe the findings demonstrate that the vaccines will remain protective against the variants that we tested," said Nathaniel "Ned" Landau, Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, in New York City.

FDA denies Bharat Bio's US partner emergency approval for Covaxin vaccine

In setback that could potentially delay the launch of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin in USA, the Food and Drug Administration there has "recommended" Ocugen Inc, the US partner of the Indian vaccine maker, to go for Biologics Licence Application (BLA) route with additional data, nixing hopes of Emergency Use Authorisation.
Ocugen in a statement on Thursday announced that as recommended by the FDA, it will pursue submission of a biologics licence application (BLA) for Covaxin. BLA is a "full approval" mechanism by the FDA for drugs and vaccines. READ MORE...  

Puducherry logs 429 new Covid-19 cases, 11 deaths

Puducherry continued to see a fall in number of fresh coronavirus cases with the union territory reporting 429 in the last 24 hours as against the 507 on the previous day.
The new infections pushed the cumulative Covid-19 tally in the union territory to 1,11,684, Director of Health and Family Welfare S Mohan Kumar said.
The 429 cases were identified at the end of the examination of 9,159 swabs in the last 24 hours ending 10 AM Friday, he added. While Puducherry registered 322 of the fresh cases, Karaikal logged 83, followed by Mahe (19) and Yanam (5). The union territory had recorded 507 new infections on Thursday.

Oil poised for third weekly gain as demand improves

Oil headed for a third straight weekly gain after climbing above $70 a barrel this week on signs of an improving demand outlook. Futures in New York have bounced around that mark this week since topping the level for the first time since October 2018. Road traffic in the U.S. and most of Europe is pretty much back to pre-virus levels, and OPEC is predicting that the global recovery will gather strength in the second half of the year, Bloomberg reported.

Euro 2020 set to open, a year later than planned

The biggest soccer tournament of the coronavirus-era is about to get started. The first match of the European Championship will kick off at 1900 GMT in Rome when Italy plays Turkey in Group A. There will be about 16,000 fans in the stadium, the Associated Press reports. Details about the tournament are here.

Puducherry's cases decrease

Puducherry reported 429 cases in the last 24 hours compared to the 507 on Wednesday. The new infections pushed the cumulative Covid-19 tally in the union territory to 1,11,684, PTI reported quoting a civil servant.

G-7 nations gather to pledge on billion vaccine doses for world

World leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are set to commit at their summit to share at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with struggling countries around the world--half the doses coming from the US and 100 million from the UK, said the Associated Press.

Australians Warner, Stoinis pull out 'The Hundred' tournament

Australian opener David Warner and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis have pulled out of the inaugural edition of ''The Hundred'' as the England and Wales Cricket Board gears up for more withdrawals in wake of the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic. Warner and Stoinis, who returned home from India after the suspension of the IPL last month. They were named in Australia's preliminary squads for the limited over tours to the West Indies and Bangladesh.

Philippines reopens gyms, museums

Philippine officials have allowed the reopening of gyms, skating rinks, racket courts and museums in metropolitan Manila and adjacent provinces as a coronavirus surge continues to ease. The country’s trade secretary says Filipinos 65 years old and above who have been restricted to home can now travel within the densely populated capital region two weeks after having been fully vaccinated, the Associated Press reported.

Philippines reopens gyms, museums

Philippine officials have allowed the reopening of gyms, skating rinks, racket courts and museums in metropolitan Manila and adjacent provinces as a coronavirus surge continues to ease. The country’s trade secretary says Filipinos 65 years old and above who have been restricted to home can now travel within the densely populated capital region two weeks after having been fully vaccinated, the Associated Press reported.

Philippines reopens gyms, museums

Philippine officials have allowed the reopening of gyms, skating rinks, racket courts and museums in metropolitan Manila and adjacent provinces as a coronavirus surge continues to ease. The country’s trade secretary says Filipinos 65 years old and above who have been restricted to home can now travel within the densely populated capital region two weeks after having been fully vaccinated, the Associated Press reported.

Arunachal reports 245 new cases

Arunachal Pradesh's total Covid-19 cases increased to 30,492 after 245 more people tested positive for the disease, said the state’s health department on Friday. Five deaths pushed the state's death toll in the pandemic to 133.

Bengaluru’s Biophore applies for emergency-use approval for Covid drug

Biophore India Pharmaceuticals on Friday said it has applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for obtaining emergency-use approval for Aviptadil, used in the treatment of moderate to severe cases of Covid. The Hyderabad-based firm said it has developed the product which is backward integrated with its in-house API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient), according to PTI.

Donated Pfizer shots to ship globally in August, says Biden ahead of G-7 summit

President Joe Biden announced the US would begin shipping a half-billion donated doses of Pfizer Inc. coronavirus vaccines to countries in “dire need” in August, making good on a promise to lead the global campaign against the pandemic, reported Bloomberg. “We know the tragedy. We also know the path to recovery,” Biden said at Tregenna Castle in St. Ives, U.K. before a Group of Seven summit. “The key to reopening and growing economies is to vaccinate your people.”

US FDA denies emergency approval for Bharat Bio’s Covaxin vaccine

The US Food and Drug Administration has denied emergency approval for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, asking the Indian company’s American partner to undertake a process that will requires more data about the vaccine. The development may delay Covaxin’s launch in the US, Ocugen said, according to PTI.

India's daily Covid-19 count remains below 100,000

India’s daily count of new Covid-19 cases remained below 100,000 for the fourth consecutive day on Friday, with the health ministry reporting 91,702 infections in 24 hours. India has 92,74,823 cases in total. Fatalities climbed to 3,63,079 with 3,403 deaths being logged.

Latur city declares auto drivers, newspaper vendors as frontline workers

Maharashtra’s Latur city has declared auto-rickshaw drivers, grocery and medical shop owners, newspaper vendors and bank employees as frontline workers. They would be vaccinated for Covid-19 on priority, an official of Latur’s municipality told news agency PTI.

Spain hopes 2 infected players will be back for Euros

Spain hopes captain Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente will still have an impact on the European Championship after both players tested positive for the coronavirus. Llorente’s positive test on Tuesday may have been erroneous after further tests came back negative, coach Luis Enrique said on Thursday. The Leeds defender will undergo another test on Friday, and if that comes back negative again, the team said he can return to the squad before Spain''s first match on Monday against Sweden, the Associated Press reported.

Govt may expand Covid relief, says newspaper

The central government is considering expanding pandemic-related relief policies to further industries, the Economic Times reported, citing unidentified sources. The move could include expanding a credit guarantee program and extending tax relief for construction, as well as more spending for rural programs. The number of new Covid cases in the country was 91,702.

Thane district's Covid-19 death toll crosses 10,000-mark; 498 new cases reported

The Covid-19 death toll in Thane district of Maharashtra has crossed the 10,000-mark as 65 more patients succumbed to the infection, an official said on Friday.
These deaths were reported on Thursday.
The district's fatality count now stood at 10,056.
The infection tally in the district has reached 5,23,497 with the addition of 498 cases, he said.

Andaman and Nicobar coronavirus update: 29 fresh cases take Covid-19 tally of Andamans to 7,197

The Covid-19 tally of Andaman and Nicobar Islands rose to 7,197 on Friday as 29 more people tested positive for the infection, a health official said. Twenty-one more people have been cured of the disease, he said.
The total death toll in the archipelago remained unchanged at 125 as no fresh fatality was reported, the official said.

Bihar: People in rural areas of Katihar reluctant to take Covid vaccine due, reports ANI

Reopening US economy heat up inflation; labour market recovery gets a boost

U.S. consumer prices rose solidly in May, leading to the biggest annual increase in nearly 13 years as a reopening economy boosted demand for travel-related services, while a global semiconductor shortage drove up prices for used motor vehicles.
The pandemic's easing grip on the economy was also underscored by other data from the Labour Department on Thursday showing the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in nearly 15 months.
Vaccinations against Covid-19, trillions of dollars from the government and record-low interest rates are whipping up demand, leaving companies scrambling for raw materials and labour. Used cars and trucks accounted for about one-third of the rise in consumer inflation last month, reflecting a global semiconductor shortage, which is undercutting auto production.

Donating 500 mn vaccine not enough, US should do more: Krishnamoorthi

Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has said that donating 500 million doses of anti-coronavirus vaccine to the world, as promised by President Joe Biden, was not enough and the United States should do more in the global fight against the pandemic.
Before attending a G-7 summit in England, Biden on Thursday promised to donate 500 million doses of vaccine to bolster the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic across the world.
Later, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the G7 nations are set to commit to providing at least 1 billion coronavirus shots to the rest of the world. Read on...

Alpha, Delta Covid-19 variants found in Sri Lanka

Highly contagious Alpha and Delta variants of the coronavirus have been detected in Sri Lanka, which is facing a third wave of the pandemic.
Patients carrying the Delta variant, or the B1.617.2 variant first identified in India, and the Alpha strain, formerly called the B.1.1.7 strain, which was first detected in the UK, have been found at around nine locations of different districts in Sri Lanka, said Dr Chandima Jeewandara, the Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
According to the sequencing report issued on Wednesday, 80 people were infected with the Alpha variant in multiple locations while the Delta variant was found in one person from a quarantine facility.
The Alpha variant cases were also reported in healthcare workers who were fully vaccinated.

Uttar Pradesh coronavirus updates: 82 deaths, 642 fresh virus cases in UP

Eighty-two more people died from coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday as 642 fresh cases surfaced, taking the state's infection number to 17,01,072, according to a Health Department bulletin.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, the virus has claimed 21,597 lives in the state.
Of the fresh 82 deaths, 15 were reported from Kanpur Nagar, eight from Gorakhpur, five from Bareilly, four each from Saharanpur, Agra, Deoria, Jhansi, Gonda, three each from Ghaziabad, Meerut, Lakhimpur Kheri and two each from Rae Bareli, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur, Hapur and Balrampur.

Coronavirus update: 44 more deaths, 305 new cases in Delhi; positivity rate 0.41%

Delhi recorded 44 more Covid-19 deaths and 305 new cases on Thursday with a positivity rate of 0.41 per cent, according to the health bulletin released here.
Nearly 560 people recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours as the the recoveries again outnumbered fresh infections.
After the second wave of coronavirus weakened, the Delhi government started the unlock process, allowing markets to open from Monday on an odd-even basis along with malls. Delhi Metro also started operations with 50 per cent capacity.

Madhya Pradesh coronavirus update: MP logs 420 new coronavirus case

The Covid-19 caseload in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday rose to 7,87,175, with 420 fresh cases coming to light.
The death toll reached 8,475 with 34 new fatalities, the state Health Department said.
A total of 1,332 patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the count of recoveries to 7,72,375.
With 129 new cases, Indore district's caseload went up to 1,52,224, while that of Bhopal rose to 1,22,417 with addition of 107 cases.

China suspends import of frozen seafood from 6 Indian firms after coronavirus traces found on packaging

China on Thursday suspended the import of frozen seafood products from six Indian marine export companies after traces of coronavirus were detected on the packaging.
Since early last year, China has been testing imported frozen food products from all over the world. It has periodically suspended imports from companies after finding traces of the virus on the packaging.
The General Administration of Customs of China in a press release said the traces of the virus were found on the outer packages of the seafood products from the six companies and imports would be suspended for a week.
China has largely controlled the spread of the coronavirus, which first emerged in Wuhan in December 2019, with strict measures, though handful of cases, largely attributed to those arriving from abroad, continued to be reported in the country.

Medical debts bankrupt Indians already ravaged by coronavirus

In the shadows of the Taj Mahal, shoemaker Shyambabu Nigam worked for years to save enough money to buy his wife Anju a small house with a view of the iconic 17th century mausoleum. Yet in just a matter of months, they were forced to give it up.
After Anju fell seriously ill with Covid-19 last year, the couple turned to a mix of subsidised government hospitals and more expensive private clinics to treat the illness and pay for two open-heart surgeries that followed. The total costs amounted to more than Rs 6 lakh — roughly six times Nigam’s annual income.
While the sale of his modest two-bedroom house covered most of that amount, he was also forced to borrow money from friends and sell one of his three leather sewing machines. Read on...

Ramdev's about-turn: Says will take Covid jab; calls doctors God's envoys

Yoga guru Ramdev, who had said he does not need the Covid vaccine as he has protection of yoga and ayurveda, on Thursday did a summersault, saying he will soon get the jab and described doctors as "God's envoys on earth".
Ramdev had earlier stirred a controversy with his comments on the efficacy of allopathic drugs against COVID-19, drawing the ire of the medical fraternity.
Now, welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement about free vaccine to all from June 21, Ramdev described it as a "historic" step and appealed to all to get themselves vaccinated. Read on...

Rahul Gandhi bats for walk-in vaccination, Irani says already done

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday demanded that every person walking into a COVID-19 vaccination centre should get the jab, drawing a sharp retort from Union minister Smriti Irani who said the government has already allowed it.
In a tweet in Hindi, Gandhi said, "Online registration is not enough for the vaccine. Every person walking in at a vaccination centre should get the vaccine. Those who do not have access to internet also have the right to life."
Irani, the BJP leader who had defeated him in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from his family pocket borough of Amethi, was quick to hit back. Read on...

G-7 plans 1 billion extra Covid-19 shots to end pandemic next year

The Group of Seven (G-7) leaders is set to vow to deliver at least 1 billion extra doses of vaccines over the next year to help cover 80 per cent of the world’s adult population, according to a draft communique seen by Bloomberg News.
Ahead of the G-7 summit in the UK, officials are putting together a document that outlines a plan to end the pandemic by December 2022. The document has yet to be finalised but will form the basis of final-stage talks at the summit of leaders in Cornwall, southwestern England, starting Friday.
As Biden and other G-7 leaders gathered for the start of their summit in the UK, their staffs were putting together a document that outlines a plan to end the Covid-19 pandemic by December 2022. At the summit in Cornwall, the presidents and prime ministers will pledge to deliver at least 1 billion extra doses of vaccines over the next year to help cover 80 per cent of the world’s adult population, according to a draft communique seen by Bloomberg News. Read on...

8 labs in 4 cities, part of CCMB-led consortium to identify Covid-19 variants

Complementing national efforts led by INSACOG, a consortium of four city clusters - Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Pune - has been established to upscale the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus genomic surveillance.
Eight labs in these four cities will attempt to develop strategies to identify "variants of concern" before they spread widely.
The consortium, established with support and seed funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, aims to develop targeted sampling strategies based on granular epidemiological and clinical data, a statement informed.
Coupled with intense environmental surveillance and advanced computational techniques, the consortium would also focus on building capabilities for real-time surveillance and epidemiology.
The new effort will track the emergence of viral variants correlated to epidemiological dynamics and clinical outcomes.

Reports suggest CoWin website hacked; health ministry, researchers deny

The CoWin website was hacked, putting data of 150 million users at risk, various websites reported late on Thursday evening.
DarkTracker, in their tweet, stated that information of about 150 million vaccinated people in India is at stake.
The Health Ministry and security researchers, however, denied the breach, as news of the hack spread on the internet, sparking panic.

Covid-19 pandemic: Health ministry flags poor coverage of second dose

The health ministry on Thursday flagged the poor coverage of second dose among the priority groups in states, with only 56 per cent of the health care workers and 47 per cent of the frontline workers having received full vaccination so far.
At a meeting to review the progress of vaccination, the government also raised the issue of less-than-adequate private sector participation in some states that have limited and unequal spread of private hospitals such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam.

US extends expiration dates for Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine by 6 weeks

Johnson & Johnson said Thursday that U.S. regulators extended the expiration date on millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by six weeks.
The company said a Food and Drug Administration review concluded the shots remain safe and effective for at least 4 1/2 months. In February, the FDA originally authorised J&J's vaccine for up to three months when stored at normal refrigeration levels.
Thursday's announcement comes after state officials warned that many doses in storage would expire before the end of the month. Read on...

Tunisia coronavirus update: 2,373 Covid cases reported, tally at 362,658

Tunisian Health Ministry on Thursday reported 2,373 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections in the country to 362,658.
The death toll from the virus rose by 76 to 13,305 in Tunisia, while the total number of recoveries reached 317,758, the ministry said in a statement.
A total of 1,540,880 lab tests have been carried out in Tunisia so far, according to the ministry.
Since the start of the national vaccination campaign against the coronavirus on March 13, a total of 1,252,125 people have received the vaccines, with 352,570 of them having received both doses, according to the latest figures published by the ministry.

Coronavirus in India: Andhra Pradesh reports 8,110 new cases and 67 deaths in past 24 hours

Andhra Pradesh reports 8,110 new cases and 67 deaths in past 24 hours. The total number of cases in the State is 17,87,883 including 99,057 active cases. 
In the past 24 hours, 12,981 persons are recovered. Total number of recovered cases is 16,77,063.

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