The daily new cases of COVID-19 in India were recorded above 17,000 after a little over a month taking the total tally of cases to 1,11,56,923, while the recoveries surged to 1,08,26,075, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.
A total of 17,407 infections were reported in a day. The death count increased to 1,57,435 with 89 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
Covaxin is 81 per cent effective in preventing Covid and can work against the UK variant of the virus, Bharat Biotech said Wednesday as it revealed a "first interim analysis" of Phase III trial results for a vaccine cleared in January amid concerns over safety and efficacy.
The company said its initial analysis was based on 43 trial participants getting coronavirus, of whom 36 had not received the vaccine. Interim analysis also showed that severe, serious, and medically attended adverse events occurred at low levels and were balanced between vaccine and placebo groups, Bharat Biotech said.
The company also said it planned further interim analysis for 87 cases and a final analysis for 130. This data has yet to be peer-reviewed.
Meanwhile, VK Sasikala, the ousted former chief of Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK - who was released from a Bengaluru jail in January and was widely expected to challenge for control of the party, and the Chief Minister's post, in next month's election - will "stay away from politics and public life".
In a letter released Wednesday night Sasikala - a confidante of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa - wrote: "I have never been after power or position even when Jaya was alive. Won't do that after she is dead. I am staying away from politics to ensure continuation of AIADMK's 'golden rule' in Tamil Nadu."
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A World Health Organization team investigating the origins of COVID-19 is planning to scrap an interim report on its recent mission to China amid mounting tensions between Beijing and Washington over the investigation and an appeal from one international group of scientists for a new probe, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
In Geneva, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in an email reply: "The full report is expected in coming weeks".
No further information was immediately available about the reasons for the delay in publishing the findings of the WHO-led mission to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first human cases of COVID-19 were detected in late 2019.China refused to give raw data on early COVID-19 cases to a WHO-led team probing the origins of the pandemic, Dominic Dwyer, one of the team's investigators said last month, potentially complicating efforts to understand how the outbreak began.
Those willing to avail postal ballot facility to cast vote under the people with disabilities (PwD) category will have to submit "benchmark disability certificate" along with their application forms, the Election Commission has said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday urged people to take the indigenous Covaxin vaccine without any hesitation on the basis of the latest report of the Indian Council of Medical Research, the country's top research body, about its third phase clinical trials.
People had some doubts about the Covaxin, manufactured by the Bharat Biotech with the support of the ICMR, he said at a press meet.
There was some reluctance among the public to take the vaccine as part of the delay in getting the results of its third phase trials, he said.
"ICMR has now released the interim results of the third phase clinical trials. According to it, the vaccine has shown an interim efficacy of 81 per cent in preventing COVID-19," Mr Vijayan said.
According to a statement issued by the Directorate of School Education of Kashmir, the divisional level monitoring team consists of Joint Director Central/North Abid Hussain, Joint Director Bilal Khurshid, Joint Director SSA Shamsudin Bhat and Personal officer Muzamil Maqbool.
"District level monitoring team would consist of Chief Education Officer, Deputy Chief Education Officer and DEPO," the statement said.
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga and Deputy Chief Minister Tawnluia received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.
Zoramthanga announced this on his official twitter handle.
"Took my first dose of Covid-19 vaccine on 04.03.2021 at 10:25 AM," he tweeted.
At least 12 other legislators also took the COVID-19 vaccine, officials said.
Prime Minister Hasina, 73, received her first shot of COVID-19 vaccine at her official residence, Ganabhaban, in Dhaka and sister Sheikh Rehana was by her side at the time.
Ms Hasina's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim confirmed that she was vaccinated on Thursday afternoon, but no detail was given about the vaccine she was given.
The vaccination drive began in Bangladesh with a nurse given the first shot at Kurmitola General Hospital in Dhaka on January 27. The prime minister had inaugurated the programme.
Members of the party, led by senior leader Raman Bhalla, also took out a march from the Maheshpura Chowk to ''gherao'' the civil secretariat here against the hike in the fuel prices but were stopped by police.
Mr Bhalla demanded that the BJP government provide immediate relief to people from the rising prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.
The government is "profiteering" off "people's misery", he alleged and demanded reducing the prices by partially rolling back excise duty.
The truth is that as GDP "nosedives", the prices of gas, diesel and petrol continue to rise unchecked, Mr Bhalla said.
"BJP will win more than 200 seats in West Bengal. Mamata Banerjee's days as a chief minister are numbered. On the May 3, West Bengal will have a BJP chief minister," said Mr Surya.
"This is the legacy of the communists which Mamata Banerjee has carried forward but there will be no more bloodshed and political murder politics in West Bengal because BJP will have its chief minister," he added.
India on Thursday airlifted consignment of Made in India COVID-19 vaccines for Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cote d'Ivoire under the Vaccine Maitri initiative.
The information was shared by the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on his Twitter post.
In a tweet, Srivastava said, "#VaccineMaitri continues! Consignment of Made in India Covid vaccines airlifted for Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cote d'Ivoire."
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Thursday administered the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Tirath Ram Shah Hospital in the national capital.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also took his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Delhi government-run LNJP hospital.
52-year-old Kejriwal has been receiving treatment for diabetes for the last 10 years, hence he is eligible for inoculation under the ongoing phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Arunachal Pradesh did not report any fresh COVID-19 case in the last 24 hours, a senior health department official said on Thursday.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Thursday administered the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Jammu. Sinha received his first shot as the country's vaccination campaign has been widened to include people above 60, and those who are 45 or more and suffering from certain medical conditions.
L-G urged all the eligible people to come forward and get the vaccine dose.
"I have taken the vaccine today. It was a smooth process. I urge all the eligible people to come forward and get the vaccine dose. The vaccines are safe and I congratulate all the scientists for producing the vaccine," Mr Sinha told ANI.
Similar unrest is widespread in Europe, where the Swiss government said a referendum would be held in June on the legality of government powers to order lockdowns.
Canada on Wednesday (local time) thanked India for sending coronavirus vaccines, of which 500,000 doses reached on March 4, a week after the AstraZeneca vaccine was approved.
Anita Anand, MP for Oakville and Minister of Public Services and Procurement, said in a tweet, "The AZ/CoviShield vaccine is now in Canada. The first tranche of 500,000 doses arrived this morning from Serum Institute of India with 1.5 million more doses to follow. Thank you to all whose hard work made this happen. We look forward to future collaboration."
She had earlier said that another 944,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be reaching Canada this week, of which 444,600 doses are of Pfizer and 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca.
Germany had previously said it lacked sufficient data to greenlight the jab for those over 65, but Merkel said that thinking had changed thanks to recent encouraging studies.
Covaxin is 81 per cent effective in preventing Covid and can work against the UK variant of the virus, Bharat Biotech said Wednesday as it revealed a "first interim analysis" of Phase III trial results for a vaccine cleared in January amid concerns over safety and efficacy. The company said its initial analysis was based on 43 trial participants getting coronavirus, of whom 36 had not received the vaccine.