A certain state in the country is witnessing a considerable decline in the number of COVID-19 cases as per the state Health Minister on Monday. As a result, it has taken a major decision on re-opening the elementary schools in the state in January 2021.

According to Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, elementary schools in the state, which have remained closed till now due to the prevailing COVID situation, will reopen from January one in a staggered manner.

“Classes from nursery to six will begin from January one and a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued later. We will, however, have a staggered approach with different classes coming on separate days”, Sarma said.

Considering the improved situation, it has been decided to reopen the hostels of colleges and universities for final year students and for students of Class 10 and 12 for residential students in schools from December 15, the minister said at a press conference.

He also said that all temporary COVID Care Centres in Assam have been closed down with patients being treated at hospitals, following a decrease in cases in the state, Sarma said on Monday.

During November there has been a steady decline in the number of cases and by November 28 all temporary COVID Care centres have been closed down, the minister said. “As on date, the COVID-19 situation in the state is under control though, in other parts of the country and the world, there is a second or a third wave. The state government will continue to remain alert and will take stringent measures if the situation demands”, Sarma said.

The treatment of patients will continue in the hospitals where facilities have been ramped up but if the situation deteriorates, “we will make a decision accordingly and are prepared with a contingency plan in place”, he said.

Testing of samples will, however, continue aggressively, particularly at the airports and railway stations as now most of the cases detected are of people coming from outside. “We are conducting on an average 20,000 to 30,000 sample testing and around 50 per cent of the positive cases are detected from passengers at the airport”, he said.

The state has registered a total of 2,12,617 positive cases so far, of which 2,08,283 have recovered and 3,350 are active cases while 981 have died due to the disease. During November, in the first week 325 cases were detected on an average daily, in the second week it declined to around 211 daily, in the third week to an average of 178 daily and finally in the last week of the month, the average has come down to 158 daily.

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Meanwhile, referring to the likely use of vaccines, the minister said that during the recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “we have been told to prepare four categories of people to be vaccinated in the initial stage and they include frontline medical workers like doctors and nurses, those in field duty like security forces, people above the age of 50 and persons with co-morbidities”. “We are preparing the list and we expect 60 to 70 lakh of people to be included under these categories but the vaccine was not expected before March or April”, he added.

with inputs from news agency PTI





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