Five days after schools in Himachal Pradesh were reopened for students of 9-12 classes, 115 students in Mandi district today tested positive for coronavirus infection (Covid-19).

The development led to a section of people questioning the state government’s decision to reopen schools in the state.

The majority of these infections were reported from Tibetan School in Jogindernagar area in Mandi district, where 101 students were found to be coronavirus positive.

The residential Tibetan School has enrolled students from across the country, including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Ladakh, and they tested positive for the highly infectious viral disease after they returned to the school. About 350 students had returned to this school from various parts of the country after the HP government gave permission to hold regular classes for students of 9-12 classes in the state from 2 November.

The authorities had taken their samples for Covid testing as a precautionary measure. Mandi’s chief medical officer Devender Sharma confirmed the number of students who tested positive for coronavirus and said the school had been converted into a Covid Care Centre with doctors closely monitoring the health of the students.

Three students of a government school in Kot and four students of the Industrial Training Institute in Padhar in Mandi district also tested positive for coronavirus. This had led to some people of the state questioning the decision of the government on reopening of schools at a time when there were fears of a second wave of coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh as well as the country.

A spokesperson of the HP health department said 330 persons tested Covid positive, which took the state’s caseload to 24,569, while 188 coronavirus patients recovered today.

The number of deaths due to this deadly viral disease increased to 362 while a total of 20,204 patients had been cured of it.

There were 3,979 active cases in the state now, he added. The highest number of Covid cases have been reported from Solan district (3,783), followed by Mandi (3,597), Kangra (3,306), Shimla (3,079), Sirmaur (2,340) and Kullu (1,837). Shimla district accounts for the highest number of Covid fatalities with 83 deaths, followed by Mandi (46), Solan (41), Kullu (33), Chamba (19) and Sirmaur (18).