BENGALURU: With a steady rise in Covid-19 cases in Bengaluru and neighbouring states, schools are requesting parents not to send children with symptoms of cold, cough, fever, bodyache or stomach upset, to class. In Bengaluru alone, in the past 13 days, 13.42 per cent children have contributed to Bengaluru’s daily Covid count.
As per the BBMP health bulletin, “Of the total 2,533 Covid-19 cases in Bengaluru, 340 children have tested positive. Of them, 237 are aged between 10 and 19 years.” There is, however, no increase in the number of hospital admissions or deaths among this age group.
Doctors in the city say there is no reason to panic or shut schools, unless there are clusters. However, they do admit that they are seeing more children test positive. “A majority of them have had travel history to Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu. Their symptoms are mild, so taking precautions, shutting particular classrooms for sanitisation and keeping close contacts isolated for four to five days should be followed, rather than closing the school,” said Dr Gopikrishna T, Jayanagar Hospital.
Meanwhile, some schools have put off reopening of Classes 11 and 12, after a few pupils in hostels tested positive. “We have postponed reopening of Class 11 and shifted Class 12 to online mode, after we found a few hostellers, who returned from Mumbai and Kerala, testing positive. This is only a precautionary and temporary arrangement,” said a popular school on Kanakapura Road.
However, BBMP Special Commissioner, Health, Dr K V Trilokchandra said there is no reason to panic. “The percentage of children contributing to Covid numbers is still very low. No clusters have been reported from schools. We are increasing testing and will test all ILI and SARI cases. It is important for doctors, teachers and parents to ensure eligible children are vaccinated,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Dr Shahid Jameel, eminent virologist and former head of the advisory group to the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortia (Insacog) said, “Children do get infected and have the least vaccination coverage. So this is no surprise. The virus is very much around and will find susceptible hosts. It’s also important to realise that Covid-19 is not over yet.”