CHANDIGARH: Punjab on Monday reported 132 fresh coronavirus cases, all but eight of them Nanded-returned pilgrims, taking the total number to 1,232 in the state, officials said.
A total of 795 of around 4,100 pilgrims who returned from Hazur Sahib in Maharashtra's Nanded have tested positive for the infection so far, a health official said on Monday.
The test reports of around 1,800 pilgrims are still awaited, an official further said.
Many Sikh pilgrims testing positive for coronavirus have become a major issue in Punjab with the ruling Congress and the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal trading charges.
The Nanded-returned pilgrims accounted for about 65 percent of the total COVID-19 tally of 1,232 in the state.
The SAD has accused the state government of mismanaging the return of pilgrims, while Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu charged the opposition party with spreading "misleading propaganda".
Transport Minister Razia Sultana on Monday trashed the reported statement of Maharashtra minister Ashok Chavan who had claimed that the pilgrims might have caught the disease from the Punjab bus driver who ferried them back.
Among fresh cases on Monday, 52 were reported from Sangrur, 26 from Tarn Taran, 15 from Barnala, 13 from Ferozepur, 12 from Faridkot, six from Gurdaspur, four from Jalandhar, two from Pathankot and one each from Bathinda and Mansa, as per a bulletin issued on Monday.
The bulletin also recorded to deaths that happened on Sunday: a 62-year-old woman from Ludhiana and a 65-year-old man from Phagwara in Kapurthala.
The Sunday deaths took the total number of coronavirus fatalities in the state to 23.
Amritsar continued to top the COVID-19 tally in the state with 218 cases, followed by Jalandhar (128), Ludhiana (110), Mohali (95), Hoshiarpur (88), Patiala (86) and SBS Nagar (85).
Among other places, Sangrur reported 63 cases, Muktsar 49, Ferozepur 42, Tarn Taran 40, Gurdaspur and Bathinda 36 each, Moga 28, Pathankot 27, Barnala 19, Faridkot 18, Mansa 17, Fatehgarh Sahib 16, Rupnagar 14, Kapurthala 13 and Fazilka four, as per the bulletin.
Of the total cases, 23 have died while 128 have fully cured of the infection, the bulletin said, adding three patients are critical and are on ventilator support.
A total of 28,545 samples have been taken so far in the state and of which, 21,295 have returned negative and 6,018 reports are still awaited. There are 1,081 active cases in the state, as per bulletin.