Puducherry: The Union Territory of Puducherry has suspended classes for students from standards 1 to 8 till September 25, after a hike in the number of influenza cases in the territory.
The closure was initiated after the state Health Department gave a recommendation to this effect and the decision was made by Chief Minister, N. Rangasamy, and Minister for Education, A. Namassivayam.
The Directorate of School Education in a statement on Saturday said that the holidays will be applicable for LKG, and UKG students as well.
Health Department officials told IANS that in the past week, there was an estimated increase of 50 per cent in cases of influenza among children who are visiting various health clinics.
The officials added that most of the children are arriving with high fever and cough and the spread is on the rise.
Dr. R. Santhanakrishnan of a Government hospital at Karaikkal, while speaking to IANS said: "The flu-like illness is spreading when children inhale droplets from infected persons or when they are in direct contact with mucous from patients. This has led to the high spread among children attending schools.
He said that children must stay at home, use face masks, maintain social distancing, and regularly wash hands with soap to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Puducherry Health Department has also opened dedicated fever clinics in government clinics and PHCs across the territory. It has also ensured that doctors are present in all fever clinics and PHCs.
According to a study conducted by the Puducherry Health Department, after the decline in the number of Covid-19 cases, people throng markets and public places without masks and this has led to the spread of flu-like fever.
The authorities have directed patients infected with fever to wear face masks and to isolate themselves from other members of the family to prevent the spread.