Govt will consider demand for reopening of schools in next 15 days: Maha health minister

The demand for reopening of schools in Maharashtra will be considered after the next 10-15 days as there is a low incidence of coronavirus infection in children and students are suffering education loss, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said here on Sunday.

He said the final decision will be taken by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Schools have been shut in Maharashtra till February 15 due to the rise in COVID-19 cases across the state.

“Demands are rising from certain quarters for reopening of schools as children are suffering the education loss. We will consider it after 10-15 days as there is a low (rate of) infection among children. The chief minister will take the final call in this regard,” Tope told reporters.

Expressing concern over the rise in infections, Tope said that the people seem to be not afraid of the coronavirus. “The COVID protocols must be followed strictly. Common people, as well as politicians, should avoid crowding, he added.

Speaking on the current scenario of the pandemic, the health minister said that though the cases are surging in Maharashtra, the number of hospitalisations and the need for medical oxygen remain low.

On the first anniversary of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, the state health minister said that 10-15 per cent of the eligible people in Maharashtra remain to be vaccinated as taking the jab is voluntary.

“This is a challenge for the health department to ensure a cent per cent vaccination and we will make it possible,” he added.

Maharashtra on Saturday recorded 42,462 new coronavirus infections, 749 less than Friday, besides 23 deaths, the state health department had said.

The overall caseload stands at 71,70,483, and the death toll at 1,41,779 as of Saturday.

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