New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Delhi government will soon issue guidelines for schools in wake of the slight spike in COVID-19 cases, said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday. His remarks came after a private school sent its students back to their homes on Thursday after one of the pupils and a teacher were found infected with the highly contagious COVID-19 infection.

"COVID cases have slightly increased but there is no rise in hospitalisation, so we need not worry. There is no need to panic but stay alert. We have to learn to live with COVID. We are constantly monitoring the situation," he said.

"I have got reports from a few schools in the past few days where parents have informed about their child testing positive. The education department will tomorrow issue guidelines to schools in this regard," he added.

Schools for classes 9-12 reopened in hybrid mode on February 7 while that of the nursery to standard 8 reopened on February 14 in the national capital. However, the schools began to function fully offline from April 1.

Students were advised all to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour in school while the schools were asked to make sure of sanitation.

This comes amid fears over rising COVID-19 cases among children in Delhi-NCR after several students tested positive for the pathogen in neighbouring Noida and Ghaziabad of Uttar Pradesh.

Although India's active COVID-19 caseload has declined significantly, Delhi on Wednesday reported 299 new cases with a positivity rate of 2.49 per cent - a jump of 118 per cent from the daily count recorded two days ago.

According to the state health department, the national capital's weekly COVID-19 positivity rate has also climbed to 2.70 per cent from 0.5 per cent. The state government has said it is monitoring the situation but urged people not to panic unnecessarily.

The Centre has also urged not to panic, but be cautious. Speaking about the new XE variant of COVID-19, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Health Minister, has turned down its apprehensions and said it is "just another form of Omicron".

Health experts and doctors have also given similar opinions. However, they have said that people should continue wearing face masks even if they are fully vaccinated or have been administered with booster shots.

"I feel that voluntary use of masks should be encouraged as this is the single most effective intervention against all variants. However, there should not be any penalty, and instead of a mandate, ensuring availability and free distribution of masks, especially in closed space settings, will be helpful," Giridhara R Babu, professor and the head of lifecourse epidemiology at the Public Health Foundation of India, told PTI.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma