The first Air India Express flight carrying Indian citizens from Abu Dhabi landed at the airport here on Thursday night as India launched its biggest ever repatriation exercise in its history to bring back its nationals stranded abroad amid the international travel lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Air India Express flight IX 452 with 177 passengers and four infants landed at the Cochin International Airport (CIAL) at 10:09 pm, an airline spokesman said.
Meanwhile, more than 5,000 new cases have been detected across the country since Wednesday morning, figures announced by different states and union territories showed. 52952 cases have been reported in the country so far. The death toll nears 1,800 while fatalities were reported from paramilitary forces too.
Among states, Tamil Nadu, which has seen a recent spike in numbers, has reported an increase of 580 cases taking the state's tally to 5409. Maharashtra reported 1,216 new cases and 43 more deaths, taking its tally of confirmed cases so far to 17,974 with 694 fatalities.
The national capital reported 448 new COVID-19 positive cases on Thursday -- the highest for a day -- to take its overall tally to 5,980.
However, Kerala for a second consecutive day has reported no new cases and the state has only 25 active coronavirus cases.