As Lockdown-4 brought in easing of restrictions across the country, India crossed the 125,000 mark of coronavirus cases with the total number rising to 1,25,101, federal Health Ministry data revealed yesterday.
Of the total cases, 69,597 are active, 51,783 have recovered while 3,720 people have lost their lives due to the deadly virus.
The worst hit state continued to be Maharashtra with 47,190 cases, 1,577 deaths while 13,404 have recovered.
Next is Tamil Nadu with 14,753 cases and 98 deaths while Gujarat is at the third spot with 13,268 cases and 802 deaths.
Delhi has so far reported 12,319 cases with 208 fatalities and 5,897 people recovering from the disease.
States with more than 5,000 cases are Rajasthan (6,494), Madhya Pradesh (6,170) and Uttar Pradesh (5,735).
Other major states and Union Territories that have reported more than 1,000 cases are West Bengal (3,332), Andhra Pradesh (2,709), Punjab (2,029), Telangana (1,761), Bihar (2,177), Jammu and Kashmir (1,489), Karnataka (1,743), Odisha (1,189) and Haryana (1,067).States and UTs that have reported a significant number of corona cases are Kerala (732), Jharkhand (308), Chandigarh (218), Assam (259), Tripura (175), Chhattisgarh (172) and Uttarakhand (153).
Kerala yesterday reported a record 62 novel coronavirus cases in a single day.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in his Facebook post that of the 62 new cases, 18 had returned from abroad, 31 from within the country, and 13 got the infection from secondary contacts.
At present, there are 272 positive patients under treatment across the state.
On Friday, the state had reported 42 new cases.
Since May 7, hundreds of Keralites started arriving from abroad. By now, 7,303 people have arrived in Kerala and over 400,000 others are registered to travel to their native state from abroad.
Around 78,000 of the over 200,000 people who have registered for return to Kerala from within India have already arrived.
Covid-19 continued its death march in Maharashtra, claiming 60 more lives yesterday and infecting 2,608 more persons, the second-highest number of cases on a single day after 2,940 notched on Friday, health officials said yesterday.
This comes to roughly one death every 24 minutes, and a staggering average 108 new cases recorded every hour in the state for the day.
The western state has been recording fatalities above 50 and new patients over 2,000 daily for the past one week now.
With 60 fatalities — down by 16 from highest 76 notched on May 19 — the state death toll has touched 1,577 and the total coronavirus patients to 47,190 on Friday compared with 44,582 on Friday.
The Health Department said of the total cases, 32,201 were active, swelling by a new high of 3,747 over Friday’s 28,454.
Of the total 60 new fatalities, 40 were recorded in Mumbai alone, taking the city deaths up from Friday’s 909 to 949, while the number of positive patients here shot up by 1,566 cases to touch 28,817.
Besides Mumbai’s 40 deaths, there were 14 in Pune, 2 in Solapur, and one each in Palghar, Thane, Satara and Nanded.
The dead included 41 men and 19 women, with nearly 60 per cent suffering from other serious ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, and asthma.
On the positive side, 821 cured patients returned home on Saturday, taking the total such numbers to 13,404.
A 32-year-old man from Bengaluru Urban succumbed to Covid-19 yesterday even as 196 cases have been reported in the past 19 hours, the highest single-day rise, taking the state’s tally to 1,939, an official said in Bengaluru yesterday.
“The number of new Covid-19 cases from Friday 5pm to today noon is 196,” said the official.
“Positive case 1,270, a resident of Bengaluru Urban, admitted to the designated hospital on Tuesday with breathing difficulty. He died today due to cardiac arrest,” said a health official.
NE sounds warning
Separately, several northeastern states, including Assam, Manipur and Tripura have warned of strict action, including imprisonment, if anyone defies the quarantine protocols.
A spike in positive coronavirus cases, especially in Assam has led the state governments to further tighten the measures to check the spread of Covid-19.
With the return of thousands of people into Assam and other northeastern states from southern and western regions of India, 105 new cases have been reported in Assam alone in the past 24 hours, taking the state’s total count to 319 on Saturday noon.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, his Manipur counterpart N Biren Singh, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and other CMs of the northeastern region have warned the quarantine violators of action, urging the people to maintain the quarantine rules to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.
In Imphal, the Manipur Chief Minister said those found violating the quarantine protocol would be prosecuted under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The Assam government has launched “Ruthless Quarantine, With Big Heart” scheme to check the spread of coronavirus, under which suspected patients must remain in 7-day instiutional and 7-day home quarantine.
In another development, federal Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said yesterday international flight operations from India might commence from July depending upon the circumstances.
The statement assumes significance as it comes just days ahead of the recommencement of domestic flight services from tomorrow.
During an online question and answer session, the minister said: “If the situation eases and improves, by that I mean if the virus behaves in a predictable manner, we get used to the idea of being able to coexist with the virus and we are in a position to make arrangements.”
“So far, the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ has moved very well and I am confident that when domestic flights start, they will also proceed very well...So why not start (international flights) by June middle or June end or July,” he added.
On Thursday, the federal government had said that the domestic passenger flight services will recommence from May 25.
However, unlike domestic travel, various other formalities such as visa and foreign entry rules apply on the international segment of air travel.
For the domestic operations, airlines will be allowed to recommence on a limited number of passenger flight services which is about one-third capacity of the summer schedule.
Subsequently, this capacity might be ramped up in the coming days.
AFP adds: India will organise special trains to get at least 3.6mn migrant workers stranded by the pandemic lockdown back home, authorities said yesterday as fresh coronavirus cases in the country hit a new daily high.
With fears rising over the spread of the disease in Mumbai and other major cities, the government said 2,600 special trains would run over the next 10 days to help the workers who lost jobs when the lockdown started two months ago.
Millions of migrant workers have been stranded in the densely populated cities and many have walked hundreds of kilometres to get home.
Scores have died in accidents and even from exhaustion and hunger in the struggle to reach their villages.
Vinod Kumar Yadav, chairman of the Indian Railway Board, said about 80 % of the new “Shamrik”, or labourer, trains would go to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states, the biggest source of domestic migrant workers.
About 4mn have already been moved on the special trains.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is gradually easing the world’s biggest virus lockdown, which has caused mass unemployment among India’s 1.3bn population.
But at the same time, the number of new cases is rising each day, with at least 6,600 reported yesterday.
The health ministry has confirmed at least 125,101 cases and 3,720 deaths.
Experts say the outbreak will not peak in India until June or July and authorities face an increasing struggle to contain the pandemic in Mumbai, Delhi and other cities that account for the bulk of cases.
But federal Health Minister Harsh Vardhan called for calm over the crisis.
“There is no need to panic due to Covid-19 as the world has learnt to live with hundreds of viruses,” Vardhan said on Twitter.
“Have faith in your government as we are following the best possible strategy, due to which we have one of the lowest fatality rates in the world.”
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