The nationwide tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India crossed 62,700 on Saturday and the death toll topped the 2,000-mark after hundreds more tested positive for the infection in several states, while worries mounted globally about re-emergence of the outbreak after reopening of locked down economies.
Adding to the concerns, the fresh cases included at least two foreign returnees who had reached Kerala on May 7 in two separate first-day flights — one from Dubai and another from Abu Dhabi , under a massive ongoing evacuation plan of the central government to bring back stranded Indians abroad.
While large numbers of cases continued to be detected in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Delhi, experts have warned the numbers may rise in the coming days due to the ongoing movement of lakhs of migrant workers being facilitated by trains and buses to help them reach their native places and because of a large number of Indians stranded abroad, along with expatriates, being brought back in special flights.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the two new cases in his state is a warning for all states to be on an alert to strengthen their “mitigation efforts and preventive measures.”
Many more similar flights from abroad are reaching Kerala and several other states over the next few days under what is being called the ‘Vande Bharat’ mission.
In its daily update, the Union Health Ministry said the death toll has risen to 1,981 and the number of cases to 59,662, registering an increase of 95 deaths and 3,320 cases in 24 hours till Saturday morning.
The number of active cases stood at 39,834, while 17,846 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, it said.
However, a PTI tally of numbers reported by different states and Union Territories, as of 10.45 pm on Saturday, showed at least 62,761 confirmed cases across the country, 19,000 recoveries and 2,028 deaths. This showed an increase of over 6,000 confirmed cases since Friday morning.
Fresh cases were also reported on Saturday from Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Punjab, Bihar and Assam respectively.