Panel moots closure of schools temporarily in Puducherry to check COVID-19 spread

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Puducherry, Mar 18 (PTI) A high-level committee of the Puducherry Health department on Thursday recommended 'temporary' closure of schools and ramping up testing in the union territory among various precautionary measures in view of a spurt in COVID-19 cases in recent days.

The meeting of the vaccination committee chaired by Lt Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan reviewed the prevalence of the pandemic and steps taken to combat it so far and decided to launch 'mask Puducherry' movement to ensure all people used the face mask to prevent the spread of the virus.

It requested the Lt Governor to close schools 'temporarily' as a precautionary measure besides deciding that testing of samples should be ramped up to RTPCR and rapid antigen test in the ratio of 70:30, a release from Director of Health S Mohan Kumar said.

Schools in the UT have been reopened in phases since January after remaining closed for over nine months due to the pandemic.

It also decided that more containment should be planned for hotspot areas and fever clinics be established in such places.

Puducherry and its outlying regions reported 81 new COVID-19 cases while the active cases stood at 216 in the 24 hours ending 10 a.m. on Thursday.

On March 1, the UT reported only nine new cases and the number of people under treatment then was 177.

The meeting also different departments should be involved in the Covid management drive.

Another decision of the meeting was that all medical colleges in UT should enroll their students under `front line workers` category and get them vaccinated against Covid after getting clarification from the Centre.

Political meetings should follow the protocols of health safety and more specifically on using masks, the meeting said, in an apparent reference to the ongoing campaign for the assembly elections scheduled for April 6. PTI Cor VS VS