Sikkim records spike in Covid-19 cases, govt defers reopening of schools
The highest single-day spike in Covid-19 cases has forced the Sikkim government to defer reopening of educational institutions till August and take additional precautionary measures.
On Friday, 50 people, most of whom had returned from Mumbai tested positive for Covid-19. With this, the number of cases reached 62 till Saturday afternoon. Four people have so far been cured.
Till May 22, the Himalayan state, which shares borders with China, Bhutan and Nepal, was coronavirus-free. The next day, a 25-year-old man who returned from Delhi, tested positive for the disease. He has been released from hospital.
A meeting of the state task force was held in Gangtok on Friday. It was chaired by chief minister Prem Singh Tamang. He decided to resume classes in schools, colleges and universities only from the first week of August. Earlier, it was decided that the classes from nine and above would resume from July 1.
While speaking to HT, Mani Kumar Sharma, Sikkim health minister, said, “Adequate precautions need to be taken before classes resume.”
He said the number of cases would slowly decrease as most of the returnees have already been tested.
Sikkim has made it mandatory to put all returnees in compulsory quarantine for 14 days before they go for mandatory home quarantine for another 14 days.
“All the returnees are being tested and it has become easy for the government to track them. All those who tested positive were asymptomatic and this is dangerous. It is a challenge for us,” said Sharma.
The state government has already announced a ban on entry of people from other states and abroad till October. It was among the first states to ban entry of migrant workers and non-residents, including tourists although the latter support Sikkim’s vast tourism industry.
So far, more than 6000 Sikkim locals have returned home. Among them, 191 people returned from Mumbai on June 4.
Pempa Bhutia, state health secretary, said “No health worker has so far tested positive and the state healthcare infrastructure is adequate enough to deal with the present situation.”
“If the number of cases rise the government may face problems,” said Sharma and Bhutia.
According to the state health bulletin published on Saturday afternoon, the total number of people tested so far is 5,377.
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