183 Residents Test Positive for COVID-19 at IIT-Madras
Lack of social distancing, sharing food in a mess could be a primary reason for the spread of the infection.
One hundred and eighty-three students and staffers of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, (IIT-M) have tested positive for COVID-19 since December 1, according to news agency PTI. This has prompted the state government to monitor colleges and universities across Tamil Nadu.
This comes a day after the institute shut its labs, library and departments, asking students to not step out of their hostel rooms and to remain under quarantine. On 14 December, 71 residents of the campus, including 66 students, had tested positive for the coronavirus.
IIT-M had opened its doors for final-year students on December 7 as per an order from the government of Tamil Nadu.
Lack of Social Distancing, Crowding in Mess Could be Reasons for the COVID-19 Spread
Out of the 978 samples lifted from the IIT-M since December 1, a total of 183 people have tested positive till date, and results for 25 specimens alone were yet to be received, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary, J Radhakrishnan said.
“Students need to realise the seriousness of the disease. Sitting together without social distancing, sharing food in a mess are primary reasons for the spread of COVID,” he also told reporters in Chennai, according to The Indian Express.
Students had earlier said that the crowding in the campus mess could be the reason for the spread of infection.
Radhakrishnan added that the “overall, the positivity rate vis-a-vis the institution has however gone down to 15 percent from about 20 percent seen earlier.”
Those infected are being treated at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research in Guindy.
CM Orders Statewide Testing
The authorities have allayed fears of further spread of the infection in the area, calling IIT-M, “a localised cluster”, reported PTI.
However, it has prompted the government to initiate monitoring of other colleges and universities across the state.
“Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami has instructed district collectors to closely monitor other colleges and universities. We are conducting aggressive testing…” Radhakrishnan stated.
“We have already issued two Government Orders (GOs), and if any person or management fails to adhere to them, we will initiate action against them under the Epidemic Disease Act,” he added.
The district collectors and education institutes have been alerted to be careful of closed or crowded spaces to avoid a similar situation.
Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash also told The Indian Express that “our zonal officers have started conducting tests in other institutions in the city.”
They are following the ‘100 per cent saturation approach', in which testing is conducted in repeat cycles.
(With inputs from PTI, The Indian Express)
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