Coronavirus news highlights: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has receives his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine

India's Covid-19 tally rises to 1,01,68,733, and the death toll stands at 1,47,314. For the first time since the pandemic broke out, Maharashtra's Dharavi did not report a single case or a death. Meanwhile, the UK confirmed a second 'more transmissible' coronavirus strain linked to South Africa, raising fears across the world after restrictions were eased in the past couple of months. Stay tuned for the latest updates.
  • 03:05

    Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine

  • 22:57

    Covid pandemic has taught us to invest in R&D, strive to become self-reliant: Venkaiah Naidu

    Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said the coronavirus pandemic has taught us the need to invest in and sustain research and development and to strive to become self-reliant, and urged the private sector to partner with various institutes to promote innovation in the country.

    Read more

  • 22:23

    Japan confirms first cases of new coronavirus variant in country

    Japan's health ministry has confirmed the country's first cases of infection with the new variant of the coronavirus that was identified in Britain.

    Read more

  • 21:42

    Christmas celebrated across India under shadow of Covid-19

    The Covid-19 pandemic cast a shadow on Christmas celebrations this year as people followed strict protocols and celebrated the holiday in a low-key manner across the country. -PTI

  • 21:38

    A child who recently returned to Bhubaneswar, Odisha from UK has tested positive for Covid-19. Swab sample of male passenger who came from UK on Dec 18 tested positive, has been sent to Pune to ascertain if infection is due to new Covid-19 strain: Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation. -ANI

  • 21:22

    MP records 1,031 new Covid-19 cases, 12 deaths; 1,234 recover

    Madhya Pradesh on Friday reported 1,031 Covid-19 cases, taking the tally to 2,36,400, while 12 fatalities took the death toll to 3,536, a health official said.

    As many as 1,234 people were discharged during the day, taking the recovery count in the state to 2,22,403.

    "Of the 12 deaths, four took place in Indore, two each in Bhopal and Gwalior and one each in Damoh, Khandwa, Harda and Guna," the official said. -PTI

  • 20:51

    Some Russians, dismayed at vaccine exports, call for more doses at home

    Some Russians took to social media on Friday to voice frustration after 300,000 doses of the country's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine were supplied to Argentina, arguing that more shots should be made available at home.

    Though the vaccine is readily available in Moscow, relatively small batches have so far been delivered to many Russian regions as part of a mass inoculation programme, with several reporting receiving 2,000 doses or less so far.

    Novgorod has received 600 doses for civilian use thus far, according to an official in the local government. Kaliningrad has received 400, according to the Interfax news agency. -Reuters

  • 20:37

    South Africa's Covid variant dampens holiday spirit, drives surge of cases

    South Africa's normally joyful and lively Christmas celebrations have been dampened by the spike in new cases and deaths driven by the country's variant of Covid-19.

    Read more

  • 20:17
  • 20:04

    758 fresh cases of Covid-19 reported in Delhi, lowest since August 16; death toll 10,414 with 30 new fatalities: Authorities -PTI

  • 19:50

    Maharashtra reports 3,431 new Covid-19 cases, 1,427 discharges

    1,427 patients discharged today; 18,06,298 Covid-19 patients discharged after full recovery until today; Recovery rate in the state is 94.4%

    3,431 new cases in the state today

    71 Covid-19 deaths reported in the state today. Case fatality rate is the state is 2.57%

    Out of 1,24,01,637 laboratory samples, 19,13,382 have been tested positive (15.43%) for Covid-19 until today

    Currently 4,77,528 people are in home quarantine and 3,695 people are in institutional quarantine

  • 19:25

    Mali's opposition leader and ex-hostage dies with Covid-19

    Mali's opposition leader Soumaila Cissé, who was held hostage for six months earlier this year by jihadists and was considered a leading contender in 2022 elections, has died in Paris, his family said Friday.

    Cissé, 71, died after contracting Covid-19, his eldest son Bocar told The Associated Press.

    “The doctors did everything to keep him alive, but that's the way of God's will,” he said.

    The news throws Malian politics into new uncertainty. Cissé was the runner-up in the past three presidential elections and many thought he had the best chances of finally winning in 2022. -AP

  • 19:04

    CoronaVac efficacy at 50-90% in Brazilian trial, says Sao Paulo official

    The CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd showed efficacy between 50% and 90% in Brazilian trials, Sao Paulo's state health secretary said after concerns were raised by a failure to provide data on Wednesday.

    Results of trials in Brazil are known exclusively by Sao Paulo state's Butantan Institute biomedical research center, which has an agreement with Sinovac to produce the vaccine, said health secretary Jean Gorinchteyn.

    First trials showed efficacy above 50%, the minimum required by Brazilian health regulator Anvisa, and below 90%, Gorinchteyn said in an interview with CBN radio aired late on Thursday. -Reuters

  • 18:47

    "Four out of over 1,000 people who returned from UK tested positive for Covid-19"

    Four out of over 1,000 people who returned from the UK to Andhra Pradesh in the past one month have tested positive for Covid-19 and their samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, to determine if they carried the new coronavirus strain.

    State Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar said on Friday that 1,148 people arrived to the state from the UK in the last one month and 1,040 of them have been traced so far. -PTI

  • 18:24

    For the first time since Covid-19 outbreak, zero positive cases reported in Mumbai's Dharavi, today -ANI

  • 18:12

    22 new cases take Mizoram's Covid-19 tally to 4,178

    Mizoram's Covid-19 tally rose to 4,178 on Friday as 22 more people, including eight security personnel, tested positive for the infection, a health department official said.

    Of the fresh cases, 14 were reported from Aizawl, six from Lunglei and two from Hnahthial, he said. -PTI

  • 17:52

    KPCC chief D K Shivakumar blames K Sudhakar for night curfew decision

    The Congress party's Karnataka chief D K Shivakumar on Friday claimed the idea to impose night curfew to contain coronavirus was that of state health minister Dr K Sudhakar and not Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.

    Read more

  • 17:22

    Man City's Jesus and Walker test positive for Covid-19

    Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus and defender Kyle Walker have tested positive for Covid-19, the Premier League club said on Friday.

    Two other City staff members have also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and all four are self-isolating.

    "Everyone at the club wishes our colleagues a speedy recovery over the Christmas period ahead of their return to work, training and competition," City said in a statement. -Reuters

  • 17:01

    Pope Francis called in his Christmas message on Friday for nations to share Covid-19 vaccines, saying walls of nationalism could not be built to stop a pandemic that knows no borders.

    In a sign of the times, Francis delivered his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" (to the city and the world) message virtually from a lectern inside the Vatican instead of from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica before tens of thousands.

    The pandemic and its social and economic effects dominated the message, in which Francis called for global unity and help for nations suffering from conflicts and humanitarian crises.

    "At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis and grave economic and social imbalances only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for us to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters," he said. -Reuters

  • 16:48

    10 UK returnees test Covid-19 positive in K'taka: Minister

    Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Friday said so far 10 people who have come to the state from the UK have tested positive for Covid-19 and their samples have been sent for genetic sequencing to find out whether it is a new strain of virus that has infected them.

    "Among the UK returnees according to information I have about 10 people have tested positive, all their samples have been sent to NIMHANS, two to three days are required for genetic sequencing, once that (report) is out we will get to know whether it is the second strain, and accordingly we will follow necessary procedures for treatment," he said. -PTI

  • 16:40

    UK returnee tests Covid-19 positive in Assam

    A traveller from the UK, who arrived here a few days ago, has tested positive for Covid-19 and the swab samples have been sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune to ascertain whether the patient has contracted a new strain of coronavirus, Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.

    The person returned to the state recently amid concern over the detection of a mutated and more infectious strain of Covid-19 in the European country and has been admitted to Guwahati Medical College Hospital here, he told reporters. -PTI

  • 16:21

    Japan's Suga calls on citizens to spend 'silent New Year' to stop coronavirus

    Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called on citizens on Friday to spend a "silent" New Year to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which has been breaking infection records almost on a daily basis.

    Read more

  • 16:04

    Indian auto industry expected to see stronger growth in 2021-22: Nomura Research Institute

    The Indian auto industry is expected to see stronger growth in 2021-22, after recovering from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, with electric vehicle sales, especially two-wheleers, also likely to see positive movements, according to Nomura Research Institute Consulting & Solutions India.

    Read more

  • 15:46

    Christmas celebrated adhering to Covid-19 protocols in TN

    The Covid-19 pandemic cast a shadow over Christmas celebrations in Tamil Nadu on Friday as churches saw devotees offering prayers strictly adhering to all the protocols laid down by the government.

    Members of the Christian community while maintaining social distancing norms and wearing masks, attended midnight masses and special prayers held in various churches, including the ancient Santhome Basilica here and exchanged greetings.

    Devotees were directed to collect tokens before entering churches so as to ensure limited number of them were allowed were present in view of the pandemic. -PTI

  • 15:27

    S.Africa rejects claim its Covid variant more dangerous than UK strain

    South Africa's health minister has rejected his British counterpart's claim that a new coronavirus variant in the country is more contagious or dangerous than a similar one in spreading the UK.

    "At present, there is no evidence that the 501.V2 (variant) is more transmissible than the United Kingdom variant -- as suggested by the British Health Secretary," Zwelini Mkhize said in a statement published late Thursday.

    "There is also no evidence that (it) causes more severe disease or increased mortality than the UK variant or any variant that has been sequenced around the world". -AFP

  • 15:06

    Dry run for Covid-19 immunisation drive in 4 states next week

    To assess readiness of the mechanism laid out for the Covid-19 inoculation drive, a dry run has been planned by the Centre on December 28 and 29 in four states -- Punjab, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

    Read more

  • 15:01

    Covid-19 magnifies solitude for the elderly at Christmas

    Rosa Otero prepares her dinner for another nightly meal in solitude.

    This pandemic Christmas Eve has turned what should be a preciously scarce moment to spend time with her family into yet another daily instalment of her life as a widow who lives alone.

    Read more

  • 14:53

    The new coronavirus variant in South Africa: Are concerns justified?

    South Africa has identified a new variant of the novel coronavirus, which authorities believe is driving a surge in Covid-19 infections that could overwhelm its healthcare system.

    Read more

  • 14:36

    Odisha reports 325 new Covid-19 cases, 3 fresh deaths

    Odisha on Friday reported 325 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the coronavirus tally in the state to 3,27,867, a health department official said.

    The COVID-19 death toll in the rose to 1,853 with three fresh fatalities in the last 24-hours, he said.

    The three fatalities were reported from Balasore, Dhenkanal and Khurda districts, he said

  • 14:24

    Indonesia records highest daily increase in Covid-19 deaths

    Indonesia recorded its biggest daily rise in Covid-19 deaths on Friday with 258 fatalities, taking the total to 20,847, data by the country's health ministry showed.

    The data showed coronavirus infections increased by 7,259, bringing the number of cases to 700,097.

    Indonesia has the highest coronavirus caseload and death toll in Southeast Asia.

  • 13:52

    Russia reports 29,018 new Covid-19 cases, 563 deaths

    Russia on Friday reported 29,018 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, including 7,315 in Moscow, taking the national total to 2,992,706 since the pandemic began.

    Authorities said 563 had died in the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 53,659.

  • 13:20
  • 13:03

    Covid-19: Thane district reports 416 new cases, nine deaths

    With the addition of 416 coronavirus positive cases, Thane district's total case count has gone up to 2,40,619, an official said on Friday.

    These new cases were reported on Thursday, he said.

    The fatality count in the district increased to 5,910 with the virus claiming nine more lives during the day.

    As 2,30,432 patients recuperated, the recovery rate of the district reached 95.76 per cent. There are 4,277 active cases at present, while the district's mortality rate is 2.46 per cent, he said.

  • 12:40

    Antibodies target different part of coronavirus in severe Covid-19 cases, says study.

  • 12:40

    Puducherry logs 29 new coronavirus cases as overall tally rises to 37,914.

  • 12:03

    South Korea reports record virus surge on Christmas Day

    South Korea reported its highest daily number of coronavirus cases on Friday, as the country's Christmas celebrations were marred by a harsh third wave of Covid-19.

    The nation has been held up as a model of how to combat the virus, with the public largely following official guidelines, but Friday saw a record 1,241 new infections.

    "We strongly recommend and request that you cancel all of your meetings and gatherings, even with your close family members," said Yoon Tae-ho of Central Disaster Management Headquarters.

  • 11:22

    9 new Covid-19 cases push Arunachal Pradesh tally to 16,678

    Nine more persons, including an army man, tested positive for Covid-19 in Arunachal Pradesh, pushing the caseload in the northeastern state to 16,678, a health department official said on Friday. Of the fresh cases, four were reported from East Siang, two each from the Capital Complex region and Tawang and one from Upper Subansiri district, State Surveillance Officer (SSO) Dr Lobsang Jampa said.
  • 11:05

    China tests millions in port over coronavirus cluster

    Authorities in China's northeastern port city of Dalian are testing millions of residents after seven new coronavirus cases were reported there in the last 24 hours.

    The cluster that has emerged in recent days has grown to 12 cases. In five neighbourhood divisions, authorities have shut schools and public spaces and are restricting anyone but essential workers from leaving their residential compounds.

    Beijing is also on high alert after two asymptomatic cases were reported on Thursday, in addition to two confirmed cases last week.

  • 11:00

    India's recoveries cross 97 lakh, caseload rises to 1,01,46,845

    India's Covid-19 caseload rose to 1,01,46,845 with 23,067 new infections being reported in a day, while recoveries have crossed the 97-lakh mark, according to data updated by the Union Health Ministry on Friday.

    The death toll increased to 1,47,092 with 336 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

    The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 97,17,834, pushing the national recovery rate to 95.77 per cent, while the Covid-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.45 per cent.

  • 10:28

    US will impose Covid-19 screening requirement for UK flights: CDC

    The US government will require all airline passengers arriving from the United Kingdom to test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of departure starting Monday amid concerns about a new coronavirus variant that may be more transmissible.

  • 10:28

    Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 25,533

    The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 25,533 to 1,612,648, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

    The reported death toll rose by 412 to 29,182, the tally showed.

  • 09:24

    Jharkhand reports 179 new Covid-19 cases, 2 fresh deaths

    Jharkhand's Covid-19 tally rose to 1,13,786 as 179 more people tested positive for the infection, a health department official said on Friday.

    The Covid-19 death toll climbed to 1,016 as two more persons succumbed to the infection, he said.

  • 09:03

    Japan govt panel says people aged 65 or older should get priority on Covid-19 vaccine

    A Japanese health ministry panel said on Friday the elderly aged 65 or older should be given priority to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The panel also said people with underlying conditions including chronic heart disease, chronic respiratory disease and chronic kidney disease, among others, should also be given priority to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • 08:42

    China reports 14 new Covid-19 cases vs 17 a day earlier

    Mainland China recorded 14 new Covid-19 cases on Dec. 24, down from 17 cases the previous day, the country's health authority said on Friday.

    The National Health Commission said in its daily bulletin that seven of the new cases were imported. The seven locally transmitted cases all came from the northeastern province of Liaoning.

  • 08:25

    Hong Kong imposes 21-day quarantine for visitors, adds South Africa to banned list

    Hong Kong extended a compulsory quarantine by an extra seven days to 21 days for all visitors outside China, effective Friday, in stepped-up efforts to prevent a new variant of the novel coronavirus from spreading.

    Authorities also banned all people who have stayed in South Africa in the past 21 days from boarding for Hong Kong.

    Hong Kong has already banned all flights arriving from the United Kingdom from Monday and the city said on Wednesday two students who returned from the UK were likely to be infected with the new super-virulent strain of Covid-19.

  • 08:11

    More than 600,000 people in UK get first Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine dose

    More than 600,000 people in the United Kingdom have received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine since inoculations began in the country earlier this month, the British government said on Thursday.

    Read more

  • 07:50

    South Korea PM says highest daily coronavirus count recorded at 1,241

    South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Friday 1,241 new coronavirus cases were reported the day before, the highest daily count ever recorded, Yonhap news agency reported.

  • 07:36

    Mexico records 12,485 new coronavirus cases, 861 more deaths

    Mexico's health ministry on Thursday reported 12,485 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 861 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 1,362,564 cases and 121,172 deaths.

    The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

  • 07:36

    Australia steps up testing to rein in Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney

    Australia's New South Wales state has increased Covid-19 testing to rein in a resurgence of coronavirus infections in Sydney, with other states and territories taking similar steps on concerns the outbreak might have spread.

    A record of nearly 70,000 tests were conducted on Thursday across New South Wales (NSW), home to about a quarter of Australia's 25-million population, officials said.

  • 07:35

    Bengal's Covid-19 death toll rises to 9,505, tally at 5,43,214

    West Bengal reported 32 more Covid-19 fatalities on Thursday, pushing the death toll to 9,505, while 1,590 fresh cases pushed the tally to 5,43,214, the health department said in a bulletin.

    Altogether, 5,18,516 people have recovered from the disease so far, including 2,054 since Wednesday, it said.

    The recovery rate among coronavirus patients in the state stands at 95.45 per cent.

  • 07:34

    Karnataka adds 1,143 new Covid-19 cases, 1 death pushes toll to 12,039

    Karnataka has reported 1,143 new Covid-19 cases and one related fatality taking the total number of infections to 9,13,483 and the death toll to 12,039, the Health department said on Thursday.

    The day also saw 1,268 patients getting discharged after recovery.

    Out of 1,143 fresh cases reported on Thursday, 642 cases were from Bengaluru urban alone.