A long-cherished demand of the Kerala diaspora and the business community turned into a reality when an Air India non-stop flight from London landed on Friday night.
Consequently, Vijayan will not unfurl the tricolour at the main Independence Day function on Saturday, with Devasom Minister Kadakampally Surendran stepping in for him, in the ceremony, which will last only 10 minutes.
COVID-19 has now touched 5 million cases in India, with about a million active cases. The infections are spreading in all the states, especially in the rural areas.
"Lots of new cases of COVID-19 infections in children are coming in this second wave and the numbers are much, much higher than they were earlier," Dr Krishan Chugh, head of the department of paediatrics at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon, said.
The country of 1.3 billion people added a record-high of 261,500 new cases on Sunday, with one-in-six people who underwent tests returning positive coronavirus results, the ministry said.
Airlines impacted by Hong Kong's ban on travellers from India, Pakistan and the Philippines include carriers such as Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airlines, Vistara and Cebu Pacific.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that effective from 0300 GMT on Friday, India was being added to Britain's "red list" of countries, banning all arrivals from India except for UK or Irish nationals.
Daily infections, which surpassed 100,000 for the first time on Monday, have now exceeded that mark three times, the biggest daily rises in the world.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that as a gesture of solidarity with the people of India, Pakistan has offered to provide relief support including ventilators, oxygen supply kits, digital X-ray machines, PPEs and related items.