New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The unprecedented hike in coronavirus cases continued across the country on Saturday after several states reported record one-day spike again. While Maharashtra saw in dip in its daily cases, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal witnessed record spike again as state governments imposed further restrictions to break the chain of the deadly pathogen.

According to the Maharahtra health department, 67,160 fresh COVID-19 were reported on Saturday that pushed the state's total caseload and active tally to 42,28,836 and 6,94,480 respectively. Meanwhile, the death toll jumped to 63,928 with a one-day spike of 676.

Mumbai, which is one the worst-hit cities in India, saw a spike of just 5,888 new cases, the lowest in nearly three weeks. Currently, Mumbai's active tally and total caseload stand at 78,775 and 6,22,109 respectively while the death toll has reached 8,549 with 71 fresh fatalities.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh, where the Yogi Adityanath government has imposed a weekend curfew, reported its biggest-ever single-day spike of 38,055 that pushed the state's active tally to 2,88,144. Meanwhile, 223 fatalities were reported during the same period that took UP's death toll to 10,959. 

On the other hand, West Bengal, where the eight-phase assembly election is underway, reported 14,281 COVID cases, the biggest single-day spike since the beginning of the pandemic. Currently, West Bengal tally stands at 7,28,061 while 10,884 COVID-19 patients have lost their lives.

Kerala, meanwhile, also reported a spike with 26,685 fresh cases that pushed the state's total caseload to 13.77 lakh. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that the situation in Kerala is "grim" and likened it to a volcano that can erupt at any moment.

"We are sitting on a volcano which can explode any moment. People should understand the situation and take adequate precaution to protect themselves," Vijayan was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

While cases have been rising alarmingly in India, several states are facing oxygen shortage to treat severe and critical COVID-19 patients. Looking at this, the central government on Saturday waived customs duty on the import of COVID vaccines as well as medical-grade oxygen and related equipment.

It also directed customs officials to clear all import consignments, including life-saving drugs and oxygen equipment, used in COVID treatment on the highest priority.

"In order to augment their production and availability and to meet the rising demand, it was decided to grant full exemption from Basic Customs Duty and health cess on import of the following items related to oxygen and oxygen related equipment for a period of three months with immediate effect," the finance ministry statement said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma