UP: Schools shut till May 15 as state reports highest single-day spike in virus cases

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Lucknow, Apr 15 (PTI) The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday shut all schools till May 15 and postponed exams for board classes as the state reported its highest-single day spike in coronavirus cases since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.

The state on Thursday reported 104 deaths and 22,439 fresh cases, pushing the fatality count to 9,480 and the total infection number to 7,66,360.

The government also ordered to lodge a case against the hospitals who turn down patients sent on the recommendations of district magistrates and chief medical officers.

According to a government statement, the government imposed an 11-hour night curfew with immediate effect in 10 districts having more than 2,000 active COVID-19 cases.

The decisions were taken during an online meeting chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from his residence, where he has isolated himself after testing positive for coronavirus.

Adityanath directed officials to impose the night curfew from 8 pm to 7 am in the districts, including Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kanpur, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Meerut and Gorakhpur.

The statement further said all schools in Uttar Pradesh will be closed till May 15 in view of the rising infection cases.

Board exams for Classes 10 and 12 have been postponed till May 20 and the new dates will be decided in the first week of next month, an official said.

Schools were earlier shut till April 30. Initially, the board exams were to be held from April 24 but were postponed to May 8. Every year, over 50 lakh students appear for Class 10 and 12 board exams.

Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad told reporters, 'In the past 24 hours, 22,439 fresh cases were reported while 4,222 people were discharged.' Earlier in the day, an official had reported 114 deaths but later corrected the figure to 104.

This is the second day in a row when the state has reported a record daily increase in the COVID numbers.

On Wednesday, 20,510 cases had surfaced in the state. Lucknow recorded the maximum 5,183 cases, followed by 1,888 in Allahabad, 1,859 in Varanasi and 1,263 in Kanpur, a health bulletin said.

Lucknow also reported the maximum 26 deaths, followed by 10 in Kanpur and six each in Allahabad and Varanasi, it said.

Prasad said the state currently has 1,29,848 active cases.

On Wednesday, 2.06 lakh samples were tested, taking the total number of samples tested so far to over 3.75 crore, Prasad said, adding that 6,27,032 people have recovered from the infection since last year.

Taking a note of dilly-dallying by hospitals in admitting COVID patients, CM ordered that a case will be registered against all those who turn down patients sent on the recommendations of district magistrates and chief medical officers.

The Medical Education Department has issued orders in this regard to all the DMs and CMOs of the state.

Principal Secretary (Medical Education) Alok Kumar said protecting lives is the government's top priority and any negligence on part of hospitals in treating patients will not be tolerated.

Taking a stock of the situation, the CM said people should be told about the importance of wearing masks.

Since Lucknow is the state capital, he said, it's obvious that more people will come here. So additional arrangements should be made in the city, he said.

'King George's Medical University and Balrampur Hospital should be made dedicated COVID-19 hospitals in a phased manner. In private hospitals, too, the number of beds should be increased,' he said.

On the panchayat elections, the first-phase polling for which was held on Thursday, Adityanath said all officials on duty should follow COVID-19 protocols. Gloves, sanitisers and masks should be made available, he said.

On migrants returning Uttar Pradesh from other states, he asked officials to create quarantine centres in every district with necessary facilities. PTI ABN RDK RDK