As many as 18 students from Shetkari Shikshan Sanstha School at Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai have been diagnosed with Covid-19 – in the first case of mass infection among school students in the state. The students were close contacts of a Covid-19 positive student from Class 11 whose father has an international travel history from Qatar.
The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has instructed the school administration to close down the school till December 26.
Anticipating a rise in cases of infection from the new Covid-19 variant –Omicron, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday issued guidelines asking the residents to avoid crowding at public places and functions such as weddings.
According to the information shared by Jaydeep Pawar, deputy commissioner, NMMC, an international flier from Qatar was tested for Covid-19 along with his family members, including his child who studies in Class 11.
Although the passenger was found negative in RT-PCR test, his asymptomatic son was diagnosed with Covid-19. Later, upon testing nearly 921 school students, 18 were found Covid positive till Saturday afternoon.
“At first, we tested 38 of his close contacts from his class. Next, we tested 374 students. Out of these, nine were found Covid-19 positive. Then, again, we tested another 509 students. In total, 18 of them have been identified with Covid-19,” said Pawar.
In addition to this, 38 staffers have also been tested but none were diagnosed with Covid-19.
Due to the age limit on vaccination, none of the infected students were immunised against Covid-19. The minor patients are students of Class 8 to 11. All students, who are asymptomatic, have been kept in an isolation ward at CIDCO jumbo centre.
“We have sanitised the whole premises of the school. We will run tests on more students to avoid any possible transmission among others,” said Dr Ajay Gadade, health officer, NMMC.
Meanwhile, ahead of the festive season, Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal appealed to citizens to avoid crowding and follow protocols. The BMC has already deployed a flying squad in each ward with five members each to keep check on hotels, malls, restaurants, weddings and parties.
“Those who are violating Covid-19 protocols, squads deployed at ward level will take action against them. There should be strict adherence to rules regarding attendance at weddings and other ceremonies,” said Chahal in a statement on Saturday.
As per the guidelines, in confined or enclosed spaces, occupancy up to 50% of the capacity of the place will be allowed. However, in open spaces, the limit has been capped at 25%. If a gathering has to be held with more than 1,000 people, prior permission of the Local Disaster Management Authority is mandatory.
Meanwhile, in a bid to speed up the vaccinations, the civic body has warned establishments to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated.
“Vaccination of all employees functioning at public places, establishments as well as all attendees at events and ceremonies is mandatory. Appropriate action will be taken against the establishment if rules are found to be violated,” said an official from BMC.
The BMC’s action came following rising instances of violations of Covid-19 protocols in the city.
“It has been noticed that rules are being broken especially during weddings and other ceremonies. Eminent personalities, celebrities who have an influence on the society also need to be aware of the issues and act accordingly. The administration has decided to take stringent action against those who flout Covid-19 guidelines,” said a BMC official.
Chahal has also appealed to citizens to get fully vaccinated.