Within days of nearly 100 monks testing positive for Covid in Sikkim, at least 122 monks who are students at the Nyingma Institute in Martam have tested positive for the infection.
Sikkim today recorded its highest single-day spike of Covid infections, clocking 408 new cases over the past 24 hours. The total number of active cases in the Himalayan state now stands at 3,604.
The Nyingma Institute is a centre for providing education in higher buddhist studies and philosophy.
According to officials from the institute, 215 people from the premises were tested for Covid and 122 were found to be infected -- a positivity rate of 56.74 per cent.
Sikkim has so far recorded 14,214 Covid cases and 240 deaths. Out of these, 103 deaths were recorded since April 22 this year when the second wave of the pandemic triggered a spike in infections.
Earlier, 37 Buddhist monks from Dharma Chakra Centre in Rumtek Monastery, a world heritage site located 30 km from Gangtok, had tested positive for Covid. The Gunjang Monastery was declared a containment zone after more than 61 monks there were found to be infected there.
In view of the surge in infections, the Sikkim government on Saturday announced an extension of lockdown restrictions by another week, till May 31.
Under the current restrictions in place, ration and vegetable shops are functioning from 8 am to 11 am and there are curbs on public gatherings.
Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang has appealed to people to adhere to Covid protocols and help the authorities in the fight against the pandemic.