Published: 24th March 2021
Educational institutions in Andhra and Telangana see spike in COVID-19 cases
As many as 163 students of a private residential college in Andhra tested positive for the virus, while Telangana also saw sporadic cases od COVID-19 in colleges
Andhra Pradesh witnessed a sharp spike of 492 new Covid infections in the 24 hours ending Tuesday 9 am. This is the highest daily count in the past two months. Out of the total 492 cases, 168 were reported from East Godavari district alone. The total infections in East Godavari have now breached the 1.25 lakh mark, the highest among the districts in the State.
As many as 163 students of a private residential college in Rajamahendravaram rural mandal tested positive for the virus, which led to the sharp spike in the new infections. District Medical and Health Officer Dr Vegi Nagabhushanam said the area was declared a containment zone. On the directions of the Collector, the inmates of the residential college were not allowed to leave the premises. The infected students were shifted to a separate block while the others were put in another block. The entire college premises was taken over by the Medical and Health Department.
There are 900 students in the college. Tests were conducted for all students. Police and medical teams were deployed in the college. "All the affected students are asymptomatic. We directed the college management to suspend classes indefinitely," the DMHO said. Meanwhile, a large number of parents thronged the college, raised slogans against the management and demanded that their wards be handed over to them. However, the district authorities said the affected will be provided medicare on the college premises itself by converting one block into an isolation ward. The authorities said if the students are allowed to go out, virus will spread to other parts of the district.
In Rajamahendravaram, Municipal Commissioner Abhishikth Kishore said containment zones will be marked in the city to check the virus spread. Enforcement teams have been formed to strictly enforce physical distancing, wearing of mask and other Covid norms. Deputy Chief Minister (Health) Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas (Nani) reviewed the situation with the health officials and directed them to completely sanitise the college and other areas where coronavirus spread was more. Steps are being taken to conduct RT-PCR test for students in other educational institutions in the district. A total of 35 containment zones have been set up in East Godavari as Covid-19 cases emerged in Kakinada, Mummidivaram, Ramachandrapuram, besides Rajamahendravaram, he said.
Krishna district too witnessed a sharp rise in new Covid infections with 63, followed by 56 in Chittoor. Eleven of 13 districts reported a double-digit daily count, while Vizianagaram recorded the lowest number of two cases. More than 33,000 samples were tested, taking the total to more than 1.48 crore. The recoveries stood at 256, lesser than the new infections, taking the active cases past 2,600. Two fatalities, one each in Chittoor and Viskhapatnam, were reported and the Covid toll increased to 7,193.
Meanwhile, all educational institutions in Telangana, except for medical colleges, will be temporarily closed from Wednesday due to spike in Covid-19 cases. Education Minister P Sabitha Indra Reddy made a statement to this effect in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday. The decision was taken in the wake of students in several educational institutions testing positive for Covid-19 of late. "Covid-19 is spreading again in the country. Same is the case with the neighbouring States. Sporadic cases of Covid-19 have also been reported in educational institutions in the State. The government is of the opinion that sporadic cases could again explode into a pandemic if teaching and non-teaching activities continue on a mass scale," the Education Minister said.
She stated that educational institutions have been closed in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and other States. Sabitha said that parents were apprehensive following the rise in Covid cases. "We have received requests from parents to close the educational institutions in the State temporarily. Keeping the health of teachers and students in mind, the government took a decision to close all the institutions temporarily in order to prevent the further spread of Covid-19," she said.
Except for medical colleges, all hostels, Gurukul schools, government and private institutions will be closed, the Minister said. She, however, added that online classes will continue as usual. She appealed to people to cooperate with the government in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and wear masks compulsorily. She also urged citizens to maintain social distancing and sanitise frequently.