Colleges are emerging as Covid hotspots in Punjab as the new fast-spreading Omicron strain pushes up daily case counts.
About 100 students of Government Medical College in Patiala tested positive for the infection yesterday. Thereafter, the district administration held an emergency meeting and asked all students staying at the hostel to vacate their rooms immediately.
This is the second education institution in Punjab that has turned out to be a hotspot. Last week, about 93 students of Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, also in Patiala, tested positive for Covid.
Covid cases in Punjab have been rapidly rising. The state, which clocked 51 cases on December 28, reported 419 cases yesterday. Notably, the number of samples tested dropped during this time, leading to a spike in positivity.
Punjab’s Medical Education and Research Minister Raj Kumar Verka, however, said the situation is under control.
“The situation is under control and the state government has directed the district administration and health department to put their best efforts. COVID tests of the students are being conducted by health teams. Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has called an emergency review meeting today to take stock of the situation in all districts,” Mr Verka said.
The Covid surge in Punjab is particularly alarming as it comes shortly before the state goes to Assembly polls. Ensuring Covid protocols are followed at political rallies and meetings at the height of the poll campaign would be challenge for disaster management authorities as they chalk out their plan to counter the third wave of the pandemic.