Thiruvananthapuram: In yet another setback to Kerala’s credibility as an effective fighter of Covid-19, for which it had won global acclaim, the state’s schools are becoming breeding grounds of coronavirus.
Ever since the state’s schools reopened on January 1 for class 10 and class 12 students, following the decision by a high-power committee under chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, some schools have been reporting entire classes going down with Covid-19.
After two such dramatic instances over the past couple of days, in which 148 students and 37 teachers of the Maranchery school and 42 students and 42 teachers of the Vanneri HSS in Malappuram having tested positive, it emerged on Tuesday that many of those affected had got the virus from a private tuition centre in the district, making it a clear super-spreader.
The tuition centre has since been ordered closed.
The infection in the Maranchery school was detected when one student with Covid symptoms tested positive. When the test was done on the other students and teachers, nearly all of them were found to be already carrying the virus.
In the wake of the scare, some more schools in the district have been closed until further orders. It was decided by a meeting chaired by the district collector and attended by health officials that all the students and teachers in another six nearby schools must be made to undergo the Covid test.
It may be pointed out here that the decision to reopen the schools in view of the forthcoming class 10 and 12 public exams was opposed by the Indian Medical Association, which cautioned the government about the high risk.
The association’s Kerala chapter had reminded the government that when the students get infected, there was a 25 per cent possibility that the disease would be transmitted to the elderly people in their homes and others with comorbidities. It told the chief minister in a letter that the reopening of the schools would definitely lead to increase in transmission.
The disturbing news from the schools come even as the state secretariat is reporting a consistent spike in the number of government employees testing positive. At least 65 employees in various sections have been found to be down with the virus.
A recent election to the secretariat canteen administration saw all Covid protocol being thrown to wind, which is now being blamed for the spread of the disease among government employees.
Kerala, which is now struggling to control the disease after its impressive initial success, accounts for nearly half of all cases in India. The high rate of infection is attributed to violation of Covid protocols first during the Onam and Christmas festivals as well as the local body elections later.