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NE States wary of reopening schools as COVID cases mount

Assam and her northeastern neighbours are wary of reopening educational institutions from September as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in most of the States with the death tally in the region crossing the 200 mark by Monday evening.

Assam led the table with 151 deaths followed by Tripura with 43, Manipur 12, Nagaland eight, Meghalaya six, Arunachal Pradesh three and Sikkim one.

Barring Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura, the number of infected people has been increasing in the region. But officials prefer to look at the falling “rate of positivity,” which has been consistently under 5% in the case of Assam for the past few days.

Rate of recovery

“We should take heart in the fact that though positive cases are being detected every day, a good number of people are also recovering, the rate of recovery being 68.77%,” Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said.

Officials in Assam, Tripura and Nagaland said the reason behind more people testing positive was the scaling up of testing across their States. The numbers, however, have had a psychological effect on parents and social organisations that are against reopening of educational institutions unless assured of the weakening of the virus.

“We have allowed the resumption of many services and activities such as non-contact sports. We were hoping to reopen schools from September but the number of positive cases is a cause of concern,” an Assam government spokesperson said.

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had a few days ago said the government was keen on reopening the schools and colleges from September 1 if the Centre approved and the COVID-19 situation in the State was in check.

“We expect the graph of infection to dip after peaking by August-end. The next course of action will depend on the trajectory the virus takes,” the spokesperson said.

Till August 10, the eight northeastern States had recorded 54,879 positive cases of which 224 died. The region currently has 25,368 active cases.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 7:21:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ne-states-wary-of-reopening-schools-as-covid-cases-mount/article32330476.ece

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