The Union Health Minister said a COVID-19 vaccine was likely to be available by the first quarter of 2021 and that the Centre estimates to receive and utilise 40-50 crore doses covering around 25 crore people by July next year.

About 30 crore people will be part of the first “wave” to get the COVID-19 vaccine in India. They consist of health care workers, police personnel, those above 50 and those younger with underlying illnesses that make them vulnerable, said Principal Scientific Adviser K. VijayRaghavan.

He said from “March to May” vaccines were likely to be available in significant numbers and would be progressively rolled out over the years using the national immunisation programme.

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 updates:

RT-PCR test zone set up at Mumbai airport for domestic passengers

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) here has created a dedicated zone inside the airport for domestic passengers arriving from Delhi, Goa, Gujarat and Rajasthan without COVID-19 negative certificates.

As per the latest State government rules, they would need to undergo the RT-PCR test upon arrival at the airport before entering the city.

Such passengers will be directed to the test zone located near the baggage carousel before exiting the airport, Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) said in a statement.

“In keeping with the latest edict from the State of Maharashtra, passengers arriving at CSMIA from Delhi, Goa, Gujarat and Rajasthan are required to provide proof of a negative RT-PCR test prior to boarding their flight or undertake the test upon arrival at Mumbai,” it said.

U.K. asks regulator to assess AZ-Oxford vaccine amid questions

The British government on Friday said it has formally asked the country’s medicines regulator to assess whether a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University should be authorised for use.

The step comes amid questions about preliminary results from trials, after the company and the university acknowledged that the most encouraging part of their findings stemmed from a dosing error.

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he had asked the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to determine whether the vaccine “meets rigorous safety standards.”

It’s the second vaccine candidate to reach the formal assessment stage in Britain, following a shot developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech. A third vaccine from US firm Moderna is not far behind.

Re-examine decision asking employees to report for duty, Karnataka HC tells govt.

The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday directed the State government to reconsider its May 18, 2020 decision of asking all the employees of the government and its autonomous agencies to report to the respective offices for duty, keeping in mind the difficulties being faced by such employees, particularly the blind, to adhere to COVID-19 norms.

Noticing that the Union government had granted exemption from reporting to duty for pregnant women and employees with disabilities, the court said the State government was required to reconsider its decision in the light of the rights guaranteed to persons with disabilities.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty issued the direction while hearing a PIL petition filed by the Karnataka Federation of the Blind, Bengaluru.

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