New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the unprecedented hike in coronavirus cases across the country, the Union Health Ministry has increased the gap between two doses of Covishield COVID-19 vaccine from six to eight weeks to 12 to 16 weeks on request of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) to increase its efficacy.

The Health Ministry has also agreed to share the formula of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and has invited private firms to produce the COVID-19 vaccine to ramp up the vaccination drive. It has also said that India will have over 200 crore vaccine doses by the end of this year.

Here are the highlights of the day:

17:02 pm: Telangana High Court stays the state government's order to allow ambulances with patients coming from neighbouring states only if they have prior tie-up with hospitals.

16:05 pm: The interval of 6 to 8 weeks for Covishield vaccination between 2 doses is revised to 12 to 16 weeks. Citizens are requested not to come to vaccination centers if they have not completed 12 weeks after the first dose of Covishield vaccine, says Karnataka government.

15:19 pm: We will get vaccines as early as possible. We are floating global tenders to procure COVID-19 vaccines soon, says Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.

15:14 pm: The state government will bear the cost of COVID-19 treatment of journalists of print, electronic and digital media. We will also bear the cost of their family members' COVID-19 treatment, says Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

14:59 pm: Central government will supply nearly 1 crore 92 lakh of COVID-19 vaccines to states and UTs, free of cost, during the fortnight of 16th-31st May 2021, says Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.

14:17 pm: Goa Forward Party has filed a complaint against Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Chief Secretary Parimal Rai and nodal officer for oxygen allocation to hospitals Swetika Sachan "for causing deaths of several COVID-19 patients due to interrupted supply of O2 in Goa Medical College Hospital", reports ANI.

13:37 pm: Around 8,500 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Delhi and the positivity rate has come down to 12 per cent in the last 24 hours, says Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

13:14 pm: Just In: Delhi High Court adjourns the matter related to businessman Navneet Kalra's anticipatory bail, in connection with a case relating to the hoarding of oxygen concentrators in a restaurant in South Delhi, for May 18. The court refused to grant any interim protection to him.

12:58 pm: Just In: Dr Reddy's administers first dose of Sputnik V vaccine in Hyderabad: Co statement

12:24 pm: We are facing invisible enemy. Fighting it on war-footing mode, says PM Modi.

12:19 pm: Amid the difficult challenges of COVID-19, farmers have made records in agriculture and gardening while government is also setting new records on procurement on MSP every year. In comparison to last year, 10 per cent more wheat has been purchased on MSP this year, says PM Modi.

11:48 am: Chhattisgarh government will pay for education of children who lost their parents due to COVID-19, scholarship also to be provided under state's Mahtari Dular Scheme. State government will also take care of education of children whose earning member of family has died of Covid, says Chief Minister's Office.

11:07 am: Based on COVID-19 vaccines availability, we allocate 40,000 doses per day to 198 wards i.e. 200 doses per ward. Priority is being given to people aged 45 years and above for 2nd jab since a limited quantity of vaccines is available, says Karnataka BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta.

10:32 am: Also Read -- From Intranasal to Covovax, India likely to have 5 more vaccines by year-end as 2nd COVID-19 wave wreaks havoc

10:09 am: Another flight with medical supplies and equipment to support India took off from Sydney. Flight carried 1056 ventilators, 60 oxygen concentrators and essential supplies. It adds to over 1000 ventilators and 43 oxygen concentrators sent last week, says Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Pause gave our quarantine system breathing space to minimise risk of COVID-19 and having third wave here. The plane used to carry supplies to India today will act as government-facilitated flight for Australians to return home from India, he added.

9:50 am: India reports 3,43,144 new COVID19 cases, 3,44,776 discharges and 4,000 deaths in the last 24 hours, says Union Health Ministry.

Total cases: 2,40,46,809

Total discharges: 2,00,79,599

Death toll: 2,62,317

Active cases: 37,04,893

Total vaccination: 17,92,98,584

9:20 am: As many as 31,13,24,100 samples have been tested in the country up till May 13 including 18,75,515 samples tested yesterday, says Indian Council of Medical Research.

9:02 am: Odisha reports 12,390 new COVID-19 cases, 8,665 recoveries and 22 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Total cases: 5,88,687

Total recovered cases: 4,82,345

Death toll: 2,273

Active cases: 1,04,016

8:27 am: I don't have much information on Covaxin, but what I do know is Sputnik seems to be quite efficacious, at a high level of close to 90 per cent or so, but I don't have enough information on the Covaxin, says US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci.

8:18 am: You (India) have got to work out arrangements with countries and companies while ramping up your capability of making vaccines. India is one of best if not biggest vaccine producers. You've got to use some resources for your people, says US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci.

Rich countries and countries that have capability of making, distributing vaccines, have moral responsibility to assist countries that don't have that capability, particularly low and middle-income countries, he added.

8:05 am: A month ago, I appealed to farmer leaders to suspend protest amid COVID-19 spread and can resume after situation is under control. Now it has emerged that these dharnas have made few villages hotspot as villagers travelled back and forth to protest sites, says Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

8:00 am: Just In: 120 prisoners in an Odisha jail have tested positive for coronavirus.

8:00 am: Pfizer's COVID19 vaccine generates antibody responses three-and-a-half times larger in older people when a second dose is delayed to 12 weeks after the first, reports Reuters quoting a British study

7:55 am: It has also said that India will have 216 crore vaccine doses in the next five months.

7:50 am: The Health Ministry also invited private firms to produce Bharat Biotech's Covaxin amid the alleged shortage of COVID-19 vaccines across the country.

7:45 am: The Union Health Ministry on Thursday had increased the gap between two doses of Covishield from six to eight weeks to 12 to 16 weeks.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma