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IIT Madras Closes All Labs, Departments After 104 Test Positive for Covid-19 in Campus

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Source: IIT-Madras

A total of 104 people have tested positive for Covid-19 since December 1 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT, Madras) in Tamil Nadu as on Monday. On Monday itself, 33 new cases were reported at the campus.

As per a PTI report in Bloomberg Quint, the outbreak of cases in the campus have forced the authorities to shut down all departments and laboratories.

Out of the 104 cases, 87 are students, 16 are mess employees and one is a resident, state health secretary J Radhakrishnan told Silverscreen India. A majority of the positive cases have been reported in Krishna and Jamuna hostels.

After conducting an inspection on Monday, Radhakrishnan told Silverscreen India, “Initially from December 1 to 6th, there were only a few cases and from 7th onwards, we started to get double-digit cases. Immediately the city corporation started to coordinate with IIT, Madras and decided to go for mass-scale testing of contacts. The messes have been suspected for the spread. We have also started saturation testing. We are not limiting to not only primary contacts but also testing all the remaining people. The administration is also cooperating.”

“So far out of 449 tested, 104 are positive and all are in mild category, with two among nine hostels having more cases. I also visited the college and hostel campus with Dr Bhaskar Ramamurthy, the director of IIT, Madras, registrar and corporation and health teams,” said Radhakrishnan.

He said that he has also visited the students in the King’s Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research. “We have taken X Rays and CT scans of all the RTPCR positive cases and so far, they are all mild and stable but under close monitoring,” he said.

According to a press statement issued by IIT, Madras on Monday, the institute has been permitting research scholars, who need to do experimental work, to return to the campus from August in a calibrated manner. All returning scholars are being tested and a 14-day quarantine period is being maintained, the statement said.

“Our capacity to quarantine is limited, and this limits the rate at which we can bring back scholars to the hostels,” the institute said.

“IIT Madras has been functioning on limited capacity with only 10% students in the hostels. All these students are research scholars who need to carry out experimental work in the labs. As soon as a spurt of symptomatic cases was reported by some students residing in the hostels, the institute has consulted the civic authorities and has arranged for all students residing in hostels to be tested for COVID. To be cautious, all students have been asked to remain in their rooms and packed food is being supplied to the students in the hostels,” the statement read.

The students who have tested positive for Covid-19 have been admitted to the Covid Care Centre in the Guindy area of Chennai and all of them have been reported as stable, the statement added.

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