Published: 27th October 2021
Tensions mount in Himachal as over 600 school students test positive for COVID since reopening
It is noteworthy that in the serosurvey conducted a few days ago, more than 61 per cent of children in the age group of 10 to 17 years were found to have antibodies against the virus
At least 634 students of government and private schools in Himachal Pradesh have been infected with the Coronavirus since schools reopened on September 27. This alarming number is now causing much worry to the state's education and health authorities as 78 students, including 46 in the Kangra district, were tested positive on October 25 alone.
With a total of 219, Kangra has the highest number of COVID cases reported amongst school children to date, followed by Hamirpur district, where 200 students have been tested positive. About 113 students have been detected positive in Una, 30 in Mandi, 22 each in Bilaspur and Shimla, 14 in Kinnaur, eight in Kullu, four in Solan and one each in Chamba and Lahaul-Spiti.
Hemraj Bairwa, Director of the National Health Mission, told the Hindustan Times that Sirmaur is the only district where no student has been infected. Up until October 25, a total of 305 students had recovered while the remaining ones were in home isolation.
One 13-year-old student of Government Senior Secondary School, Saleti, in Rakkar tehsil of Kangra had died of the contagion on October 21. Bairwa told the daily that the deceased child probably contracted the infection when she attended an event with her parents. She had developed the symptoms like fever and sore throat after the event. She was not attending school since October 12 and was admitted to Hamirpur government hospital after her condition deteriorated.
It is noteworthy that in the serosurvey conducted a few days ago, more than 61 per cent of children in the age group of 10 to 17 years were found to have antibodies against the virus. Bairwa said the teachers and parents should not get complacent and be alert against the virus. The pandemic is not over yet and there is a need to take adequate precautions while attending social gatherings like wedding ceremonies and festivals, he added.
He urged teachers, parents, and elders to encourage children to wear masks, wash hands regularly, use sanitisers and follow the rule of physical distancing. In the wake of the sudden surge, the state government has called a review meeting on November 8. Currently, only those schools where infections were reported are closed down for 48 hours.
Meanwhile, Himachal’s COVID caseload rose to 2,23,145 on October 26 with 255 people testing positive for the virus. The active case tally climbed to 1,761 while recoveries reached 2,17,645 after 149 people recuperated. The death toll has mounted to 3,723 after two patients succumbed to the contagion in Kangra. In Jammu and Kashmir, a total of 97 people tested positive for the virus and one person death died due to the disease on October 26. The number of patients who were cured in the UT was 77 with active cases reaching 854. The government’s daily health bulletin also said that 63,426 vaccine doses were administered.
The number of people who have recovered reached 3,26,510, prompting the recovery rate to mount to 98.40 per cent. Since the pandemic started, the overall cases in J&K have reached 3,31,795 and the death toll stands at 4,431.