As the rate of coronavirus infections picks up pace once again, the Gujarat government on Thursday suspended all offline classes and examinations in schools and colleges of eight municipal corporations, The Indian Express reported.

Primary, secondary, and higher secondary school sessions in eight municipal corporations – Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Gandhinagar – were cancelled. Students will have to take online classes instead.

The fresh restrictions come into effect from Friday and will remain in place till April 10. They were imposed as the state saw a four-fold increase in Covid-19 cases in a month, reporting 1,276 cases on Thursday.

Also, the university examinations for undergraduate and graduate levels, scheduled between March 19 and April 10, were suspended. However, there will be no change in the schedules of postgraduate students anywhere in the state.

Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama told the newspaper that the closure of on-campus classes and examinations will only apply to government and self-financed institutes in these eight municipal corporations. Lessons and other classroom activities will continue as per schedule in the rest of the state.

Restrictions in Ahmedabad

Meanwhile, additional curbs were also imposed by authorities of various districts as they prepared for a possible second wave of infections. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, however, clarified that “there has been no talks for a lockdown” in the state and that there was “no need to fear” one either.

In Ahmedabad, the civic body announced that all malls and multiplexes will be shut during the weekend. Also, the night curfew was extended by one hour, from 9 pm till 6 am from Friday. The decisions were made at a review meeting chaired by Additional Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar Gupta.

The city also halted public transport bus services and shut down all public parks, gardens and gyms in order to prevent people from gathering in large numbers, according to The Hindu.

The Ahmedabad Municipal School Board directed all schools to postpone till further orders the ongoing first semester examinations of Classes 3 to 8 that began on March 15. “From March 19, question papers along with answer sheets of remaining exams of classes 3 to 8 will be handed out to students at their homes barring those in the containment zones,” it said.