Just nine days after opening them, the Himachal Pradesh government has closed down all schools, barring residential ones, till August 22 amid a rise in Covid-19 cases in the past fortnight.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting, chaired by chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, in Shimla on Tuesday night.
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Teaching and non-teaching staff of schools shall, however, continue working from the educational institutions.
The school education department will issue fresh standard operating procedures for the residential or boarding schools to contain the spread of coronavirus.
RTPCR test must from August 13
The cabinet decided to make the RT-PCR test mandatory for all visitors to the state from August 13. Any person visiting the state shall be allowed entry on vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours. A rapid antigen test (RAT) negative report not older than 24 hours shall also be valid.
Buses to operate at 50% capacity
Buses will be allowed to operate at 50% of the seating capacity from August 13.
For inter-state public transport buses, the transport department will frame a mechanism to check Covid-19 negative report or vaccine certificate. Only eligible passengers will be allowed to board buses.
R-factor of 1.3 a concern
Himachal Pradesh is among the eight states where cases have been rising and the r-factor is higher than 1. The state tops the rate of Covid-19 transmission in the country with the highest virus reproductive value of 1.3, indicating disease resurgence. Neighbouring Punjab also has an R-factor of 1.3.
The R-factor or reproduction number refers to how many people an infected person can further infect on an average.