The rise in the number of Covid-19 cases among schoolteachers in Himachal Pradesh has put the state health department on the alert.
The department made the coronavirus test mandatory for all government schoolteachers before schools reopened on February 1 and found at least 60 teachers tested positive in Mandi district alone in three days.
As many as 34 teachers tested positive in Sarkaghat sub division of Mandi district. A majority of the teachers were deputed on poll duty for the recent panchayat elections
In its notification, the health department said that it would act against teachers who are reluctant to conduct the test under the Disaster Management Act. “We have set up 174 centres for testing and action will be taken against teachers reporting to school without getting tested,” said Dinesh Sharma, the chief medical officer of Mandi.
Schools reopen to thin attendance
Ten months after the Covid-19 induced lockdown, government schools reopened on Monday even as the attendance was low. Teachers and the school managements tried to ensure that the standard operating procedure to contain the pandemic was followed. Students were put through thermal scanning on entering the campus and those with fever were sent back. Classes were held following social distancing. Schools have a staggered lunch timing and students have been told not to shake hands
Schools in Himachal Pradesh had been closed since March 2020 in view of the Covid-19 outbreak. Schools were reopened in November but had to be closed after a spike in Covid-19 infections among teachers and students.
Himachal Pradesh on Monday recorded 25 fresh coronavirus infections, taking the state’s tally to 57,561, while no death was reported.
Of the new cases, eight were reported in Kangra, four each in Mandi and Solan, three in Shimla, two each in Kinnaur and Una and one each in Chamba and Sirmaur.
State recovery rate 97.7%
Recoveries reached 56,200 after 37 more people were discharged. There are now 378 active cases. The recovery rate remains 97.7% and the case fatality ratio is 1.6%.
Shimla remains the worst hit district with 10,381 cases reported so far, followed by Mandi with 9,995 cases, and Kangra with 8,201 cases. Solan has 6,723 Covid-19 cases, Kullu 4,416, Sirmaur 3,434, Hamirpur 3,040, Chamba 2,954, Bilaspur 2,917, Una 2,882, Kinnaur 1,361, and Lahaul-Spiti 1,258 cases.
The state has conducted a total of 9,35,674 tests during the pandemic.