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BENGALURU: Pre-primary sections of most schools in Bengaluru will remain shut until further notice as a precautionary step following rising cases of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, in the country, the Karnataka government has said.

"On the advice of the health commissioner, have declared a holiday from tomorrow (Monday) for LKG and UKG schools in Bengaluru north, south and rural," S Suresh Kumar, the state's primary and secondary education minister, said in a post on Twitter late on Sunday.

Pankaj Kumar Pandey, commissioner for health, family welfare and Ayush services, said the step was necessitated after neighbouring states of Kerala, Telangana and Tamil Nadu reported positive cases.

"In this regard, it is requested to take steps for the closure of pre-KG, LKG and UKG in BBMP and Bengaluru urban areas with immediate effect and till further orders to prevent the transmission of novel coronavirus in the community," according to a circular.

Karnataka has also strengthened surveillance and containment measures following the rise in cases, the health department said.

So far 890 people in the state have been identified for observation, of which 258 have completed the 28-day of observation while 622 remain home under quarantine, the health department said. These include people who travelled to COVID-19 affected countries and came in contact with virus infected people.

A total of six people have been admitted to hospitals. Till date, 416 samples of symptomatic persons have been sent for tests, of which 357 samples have tested negative with results awaited for the rest.

Karnataka has screened 87,066 passengers so far, while 5,256 passengers have been screened at Mangalore and Karwar seaports, the health department said.

Since it was first reported in China's Wuhan in December, the virus has affected 110,034 globally, with death toll at 3,825, according to Johns Hopkins University's live tracker of the disease.

India on Sunday recorded five more cases of deadly coronavirus (also known as COVID-19), taking the total number of confirmed cases to 39.

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