Malappuram (Ker), Feb 9 (PTI) A private tuition centre, attended by as many as 91 students of a government school at Marancherryin Ponnani here, who had recently tested positive, is suspected to be a 'super-spreader' of COVID-19, authorities said.
The tuition centre wassealed on Monday, Ramesh Kumar, district education officer, Tirur, told PTI.
Even as more students, teachers and parents are being subjected to RT-PCR tests, following the unprecedented infection spike among students and teachers in two schools at nearby Ponnani, it has been found that the spread has come from a private tuition centre, where students used to go for coaching classes, he said.
Apart from the Marancherry and Vanneri schools, a few more schools in the vicinity have been closed for the time-being to arrest the spread.
At least 22 students of these schools, whohad also attended classes at the tuition centre,have been isolated and they would undergo RT-PCR tests on Wednesday.
Depending on their test results, it would be decided if higher secondary students in and around this area should also be subjected to COVID-19 tests.
'We have broken a chain.Otherwise the situation would have been worse,' the official said.
As many as 148 students and 37 teachers of the Maranchery school and 42 students and 42 teachers of the Vanneri HSS have tested positive till now.
'More students and teachers are being subjected to testing to trace positive cases,' Ramesh Kumar said.
District officials said they have no records of the total number of students, who used to attend classes at the tuition centre, which has not been functioning since the first student tested positive.
Since this student and a teacher of another school were symptomatic, they were tested and found positive, the official said, adding ,the rest of the students, teachers and staff of the two schools are asymptomatic.
The two schools will become functional only after the students' sample turn negative and health authorities inspect and certify that the institutions are safe to be opened.
The 'sectoral' magistrates will visit tuitioncentres in the area to find out if thereis any violationof COVID protocol norms and seal immediately, if necessary, the sources said.
Officials are also apprehensive that the safety protocol is not being followed at marriages and social gatherings.
The 'Turfs'-- where teenagersand adults go to play football for an hour on payment, in soccer crazy Malappuram district, should be closed down,the sources said.
A meeting of the department of health and education and Ponnani municipality, convened by district collector K Gopalakrishnan on Monday, had instructed health authorities to conduct COVID-19 tests in six more schools in the area.
The district collector has instructed all officials concerned to scale up efforts on ensuring implementation of COVID-19 protocol and contain the spread.PTI CORR UDBN ADMINISTRATOR UDBN ADMINISTRATOR