Odisha Issues Stricter Implementation of COVID Norms in Schools Amid Surge in Infection Among Children

The Odisha government has issued a fresh guideline calling for stricter implementation of COVID norms in schools amid a surge in infection among children. Of the 762 new COVID-19 patients in the state, 102 are in the 0-18 age group. However, the infection rate among the children slightly dipped to 13.38 per cent on Wednesday from 14.57 per cent on the previous day.

The fresh infections reported in 29 of the 30 districts pushed the state’s caseload to 10,13,567. Eight fresh fatalities took the state’s coronavirus death toll to 8,070, a health official said. The fresh guideline was issued by the School and Mass Education Department on Tuesday after some children and teachers tested positive for the infection in Dhenkanal and Bargarh districts.

It said that students, teachers and other staffers have to mandatorily wear masks to enter the schools where classes are being held for students of standards 9, 10 and 12. A COVID monitor, preferably the PET of the school, will have to ensure strict adherence to social distancing norms. Anyone exhibiting even mild symptoms must be refrained from entering the schools. Thermal screening and availability of sanitiser at the entrance have to be ensured, the notification said.

While both offline and online classes will continue, no student must be forced to attend the physical classes, it said. The second wave of the pandemic has claimed the lives of 39 children, with 13 deaths being reported between August 10 and 31. Of the 762 new cases, 443 were reported in quarantine centres, while 319 infections were detected during contact tracing.

Khurda district, under which Bhubaneswar falls, registered the highest number of new cases at 314, followed by Cuttack (119). Boudh did not report any fresh infection. Dhenkanal and Khurda districts registered two fresh fatalities each, while one death each was reported in Angul, Balasore, Keonjhar and Koraput. Fifty-three patients have died due to comorbidities so far.

Odisha now has 6,853 active cases. Khurda remains in the ‘red zone’ with 2,617 patients still infected with the disease. As many as 9,98,591 people have recovered from the infection in the state so far, including 801 on Tuesday. The state has thus far tested over 1.85 crore samples for COVID-19, including 64,602 on Tuesday. The daily test positivity rate stood at 1.17 per cent.

The administration has inoculated over 2.42 crore people, of whom 59.98 lakh have been fully vaccinated.

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