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Covid-19: Schools in Pune to remain shut for Classes 1 to 8 till Jan 30

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Pune, Jan 4: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday said the administration has decided to shut schools for Classes 1 to 8 in Pune district till January 30 due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Speaking to reporters after attending the review meeting of the COVID-19 situation, Pawar, who is also the guardian minister of the district, said teaching in online mode will continue. Urging people to take the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Pawar said that directions have been issued to the administration to implement the "no vaccine, no entry" policy at malls, hotels, restaurants, bars, cinema halls, government offices, public and private establishments.

Covid-19: Schools in Pune to remain shut for Classes 1 to 8 till Jan 30

"The overall COVID-19 situation is becoming critical. As the cases were rapidly increasing in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, the respective civic authorities took a decision to shut schools," Pawar said. "We have decided to shut the schools for offline mode for Classes 1 to 8 in Pune district, comprising Pune city, Pimpri Chinchwad and Pune rural, till January 30," the deputy chief minister said.

Schools for Classes 9 and 10 will continue in the offline mode to make it easy for the administration to inoculate students above the age of 15, he said. "State Health Minister Rajesh Tope spoke to ICMR director Balram Bhargav while taking the decision. According to him, if the positivity rate has gone above 10 per cent, the decision regarding closure of schools can be taken," Pawar said, adding that the positivity rate in Pune city has risen to 18 per cent.

Omicron was spreading rapidly and it is being discussed that there could be an explosion of cases in the next 30 to 45 days. In Maharashtra, Omicron cases have been reported in 11 districts, he said. There are currently 3,950 active cases in Pune city, of these 88 patients are on oxygen support and 36 are on ventilators, the minister said. Pawar advised people to use three-ply surgical or N95 masks instead of using cotton or two-ply ones.

Speaking about the treatment protocol, the minister said, "The chief minister and health minister are constantly in touch with the Centre. The Centre should convey the treatment protocol so that people of the country are benefitted." He further said that directions have been issued to the administration to fine people found roaming around without masks and spitting in public.

Pawar said the "no vaccine, no entry" policy will be strictly implemented in the district. "People who are not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to enter hotels, restaurants, malls, cinema halls, various government and private establishments. We have been making appeals about vaccination, but people have still not taken the vaccine," he said. Of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 during the day, 36 are unvaccinated, the minister said.

Around 74 per cent in the Pune district have taken the second dose, he said. "I appeal to people who have not taken the second dose (despite being eligible) not to compel us to take stricter measures. The remaining 36 per cent of people should take the second jab as soon as possible," Pawar said. PTI

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