As many as 57 students of a Vedic school at nearby Tirumala, home to the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara, were found COVID-19 positive in rapid antigen tests on Wednesday, a temple official said. The students of Veda Vignana Peetham, administered by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), had been admitted to Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital here and their condition was stated to be ‘fine’, the official said.
Of the total strength of 587 students aged between 10 and 24 from different parts of the country, including Bihar, Odisha, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, around 435 had recently returned to continue their Vedic studies after the lockdown-induced break. All these students arrived with recently conducted test results showing negative for COVID-19, but 57 of them were found positive for the viral infection when the TTD conducted rapid antigen tests as a precautionary measure, the official told PTI.
RT-PCR tests, considered the gold standard for COVID-19, were also carried out on the students being treated at the hospital and the results were awaited, the official added. Incidentally, Chittoor district, under which Tirupati falls, has the highest number of active cases in Andhra Pradesh with 339 out of the 1,064 as of 9 AM on Wednesday.
According to a state health department bulletin, the district reported 35 fresh COVID-19 cases and one fatality in the last 24 hours ending at 9 am. The active cases in the state have been inching up in the state in the last couple of weeks.