38 fresh cases in Agra as B.Ed examinees flout Covid norms

As India’s Covid tally breached the 22-lakh mark on Monday, Agra reported a surge of 38 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking its tally to 2,103.

This was after 20,000 students trooped to the district on Sunday to appear for the B.Ed entrance examination at 42 centres set up by the Agra University. After March 17, this was the first examination conducted by the university. Along with locals, a large number of students from neighbouring districts and Rajasthan, appeared for the examinations.

Although elaborate sanitation and social distancing measures were announced, the examinees and their guardians largely ignored the safety norms. Many did not have masks. Social distancing was hardly observed.

With overall conditions anywhere near normal, the district administration is under pressure from the tourism lobby and the school bodies, demanding permission to reopen. Informed sources said the schools could reopen from September 1 in a staggered manner.

Hoteliers have asked for reopening of the Taj Mahal and restaurants.

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma is scheduled to attend a meeting of senior officials at the Circuit House later on Monday to take stock of the situation. The district administration had given permission for holding the examination, despite the weekend lockdown.

Questions are now being raised at the callous negligence by the administrative machinery. The cost of this lapse could be high, health activists said.

The number of recovered cases in Agra now stands at 1,694. The recovery rate is 80.55 per cent. More than 66,000 samples have been collected.

Despite 1,694 recoveries, the number of plasma donors is only 20 in Agra, a health official said.

The administration has decided to test samples of all inmates in the temporary jails. All accused will now be tested before being transferred to the jails.

The Covid-19 scare has affected work in government offices after a number of clerks, drivers, peons were found positive. Two municipal corporation officials were found positive on Sunday. The attendance has been reduced to below 30 per cent daily in the collectorate and the divisional commissioner’s offices.

Firozabad has reported 36, Mathura 30, Etah 30, Mainpuri 23 and Kasganj three cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours.

District authorities in Mathura have already announced restrictions on entry of outsiders for the Sri Krishna Janamashtmi celebrations. The temples are already shut till August 31.