Coronavirus live updates | UN chief blasts vaccine nationalism

Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra are the top States registering a rise in the number of COVID cases

India’s indigenous COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin from Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotechis now authorised for emergency use on a par with Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield, NITI Aayog’s member (health) V.K. Paul said on Thursday.

India is now seeing a rise in the number of active cases after touching lowest mark in mid-February. Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra are the top States registering a rise in the number of COVID cases and Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal being the top States showing a decline, Health Ministry said.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest updates:

UN chief blasts vaccine nationalism, hoarding, side deals

The United Nations chief criticised the "many examples of vaccine nationalism and vaccine hoarding" as well as side deals with COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers that undermine access to all people in the world.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement marking one year since the UN World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic that "the global vaccination campaign represents the greatest moral test of our times." Ensuring that all people are vaccinated — and "many low-income countries have not yet received a single dose" — is essential to restart the global economy "and help the world move from locking down societies to locking down the virus," he said.

Guterres reiterated his call for COVID-19 vaccines to be seen as “a global public good." "The world needs to unite to produce and distribute sufficient vaccines for all, which means at least doubling manufacturing capacity around the world," he said. "That effort must start now." The secretary-general paid tribute to health workers and other essential workers who have kept societies running.

"I salute all those who have stood up to the deniers and disinformation, and have followed science and safety protocols," he said. "You have helped save lives." Guterres also commended "women, men and young people everywhere for adapting to work, learn and live in new ways." "So many lives have been lost," he said.

Mask made must as devotees throng temples on Maha Sivaratri

Devotees made a beeline for Siva temples across the district and offered prayers on the occasion of auspicious Maha Sivaratri on Thursday.

In view of the surge in the coronavirus cases in the recent weeks, the the temple authorities made it mandatory for the devotees to wear mask. Devotees also underwent thermal scanning before being allowed to the temple premises at many places. Tight police bandobust was in place at the Srikalahasti and the Talakona temples.

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May 1 target to have all adults vaccine-eligible in U.S.

One year after the nation was brought to a near-standstill by the coronavirus , President Joe Biden used his first prime-time address to outline his plan Thursday night to make all adults vaccine-eligible by May 1 and get the country “closer to normal” by the Fourth of July. He offered Americans fresh hope and appealed anew for their help.

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Speaking in the White House East Room, Mr. Biden announced moves to speed vaccinations, including directing that states lift qualifications for vaccinations by May 1, and expand the number of places and categories of people who can give shots. His aim: let Americans gather at least in small groups for the Independence Day holiday.

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Jail staffers vaccinated, but 650 inmates await their shot

Even as the vaccination of around 2,000 jail staffers is to be completed, authorities are trying to figure out how to get the 650 inmates of Delhi Prisons, comprising Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli jails, vaccinated.

A senior Tihar jail official said there are around 350 inmates above 60 years of age and around 300 above 45 years with comorbidities. They had sent the list of inmates to the Delhi government for further process. But a decision is pending.

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Over 80,000 vaccinated in Tamil Nadu

Another 80,461 persons received COVID-19 vaccines in Tamil Nadu on Thursday, taking the total number of persons vaccinated so far to 12,06,164 — 4,53,081 healthcare workers, 2,99,846 frontline workers, 2,82,999 senior citizens and 1,70,238 persons aged 45 to 59 with comorbidities.

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(With inputs from Correspondents and agencies)

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