IIT-Madras emerges as new COVID-19 cluster, 104 test positive

Last Updated: Monday, 14 December 2020 (16:24 IST)
Chennai: The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) campus has emerged as the new cluster with 104 people, including more than 90 students, testing positive for the virus in the last few days, prompting the management to shut down all the departments.

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A total of 33 students tested positive today taking the number of cases in the camps from 71 to 104.
The IIT-M Management on Monday announced that all the students in the campus would be subjected to tests and if any of them tested positive, they would be quarantined.
All those who tested positive at IIT-M were stable and being treated at the Government Corona Hospital at Guindy.
IIT-M Director Bhaskara Ramamurthi blamed the students for not following the COVID precautions resulting in sudden spike in cases. 
Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan, who visited the campus and reviewed the situation, said though sporadic cases were reported at IIT-M since December one, there was significant increase in the number of positive cases during the last three to four days.
Till yesterday, of the 277 samples tested, 66 students, four mess workers and one other person in the residential quarters have tested positive, he said.
From December 1 to 10, 16 persons tested positive and it was followed by 11 cases on Friday last, 12 on Saturday 32 on Sunday and 33 today, taking the numbers past the 100-mark at 104.
A circular issued by the institute said all the departments, centres and libraries were closed with immediate effect till further notice.
It said all faculty members, project staff members and research scholars were advised to work from home, while students, scholars and project staff members staying on the campus were asked to confine themselves to their hostel rooms.
The IIT-M said they had been functioning with only 10 per cent students in the hostels, and as soon as a spurt in symptomatic cases was reported, they had arranged for all students in the hostels to be tested after consulting the civic authorities.
Following the development, Dr Radhakrishnan advised all the district Collectors and the Greater Corporation Commissioner to keep tab on educational institutions and hostels--which were re-opened recently after a gap of more than eight months--and take steps to prevent spread of the pandemic.
Out of the nine hostels and one guest house, there are more cases in two hostels.
IIT Madras has been permitting research scholars, who need to do experimental work to return to campus in a cautious manner, with a 14-day quarantine and testing of each returnee.
“Our capacity to quarantine (with room service) is limited, and this limits the rate at which we can bring back scholars to the hostels”, the circular said.
IIT-M has been constantly in touch with the civic authorities and has been following all protocols and safety measures. (UNI)