Assam suspends classes in primary schools in districts with more than 100 cases

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Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma speaks with reporters in Guwahati (File)

Guwahati:

Primary schools and classrooms in all districts of Assam reporting more than 100 active coronavirus cases will remain closed until further notice, Himanta Biswa Sarma, state health minister said on Saturday. He said the district authorities had been asked to impose a fine of Rs 1,000 on people who did not wear face masks in public.

“Given the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases and the threat it poses to the well-being of young children, classes in all elementary schools will remain closed in all districts with more than 100 active cases “Sarma said. reporters in Guwahati because he once again ruled out a lockdown in the state.

“Classes in other districts – which have fewer than 100 cases – will continue for the time being, following all COVID-19 protocols,” he said, adding: “In schools, we will organize camps for to vaccinate teachers over 45 (and) in any other workplace with more than 100 employees, we will (also) organize vaccination campaigns. “

The orders come after 20 students in Kamrup District (Metro) tested positive for the virus in the past two months, forcing school administrations to opt for online courses.

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Although still far from the peaks of daily cases in August, September and October of last year – between about 2,700 and 3,500 cases per day – the trend is worrying.

As of April 1, 49 new cases were reported within 24 hours. A week later that number was 195 and two weeks later it was 385. Tonight, 876 new cases were detected in the past 24 hours.

Kamrup District (Metro) reported 360 of these new cases.

Mr Sarma also provided an update on the number of hospital beds and ventilators – critical information for COVID-19 patients and those seeking treatment – available in the state.

Experts fear the workload will increase further in the days following a widespread campaign for last week’s Assembly polls – in which rallies and tours were held without social distancing and in which many, including political leaders and government figures, were without face masks.

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A more serious problem is that children – under 18 – have not been allowed to take the vaccine currently offered to adults over 45, raising concerns among parents and school officials.

Two days after the third and final phase of Assam (April 6), Mr Sarma ruled out the possibility of a nighttime curfew or lockdown, which several other states have now imposed.

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“… need to panic but must stay alert …” he said.

Mr Sarma also said the state will celebrate Bihu – a traditional harvest festival – and the necessary security protocols will be followed.

However, these protocols and the timing of their publication sparked a row between the state and organizing committees, which say the rules are unrealistic and have been ignored by political parties, including the ruling BJP, when the countryside.

The health minister has come under fire for controversial comments made earlier this month – he said: “There is no Covid in Assam … there is no need to wear a face mask now in Assam … “He then defended himself, pointing to the state’s relatively better record in containing the pandemic.

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