As many as 79 more test positive for Covid-19 in IIT-Madras; total tally stands at 183 – Economic Times

Chennai News

CHENNAI: As many as 79 new Covid-19 cases were reported in IIT-Madras on Tuesday, which is the largest cluster that has been formed in the State after the government permitted educational institutions to function from December 7.

The institute is currently shut owing to the spurt in cases as 183 people have tested positive for the infection. The cluster of cases in IIT-Madras has prompted the government to instruct officials to monitor other colleges and universities across the state. A team from the Tamil Nadu Health Department and Chennai Corporation is already conducting Covid-19 tests in colleges across Chennai.

The spike in cases is suspected to primarily be due to students not maintaining social distance and sharing food in the mess, the Health Secretary said. Further, the government has given a stern warning to the management and students of educational institutes across the State that they will be liable for punishment in case there are any violations of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan addressed the media on Monday and had said that two Government Orders (GOs) have been issued and that if any person or management fails to adhere to them, the government would initiate action against them under the Epidemic Disease Act.

“We will initiate action against the management for letting these things happen. We cannot keep requesting them to follow the SOPs. We are issuing a warning through this press meet,” he said. “Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami has instructed district collectors to closely monitor other colleges and universities. We are conducting aggressive testing,” he said.

The Health Secretary said that sitting together without social distancing and sharing food in a mess are primary reasons for the spread of Covid-19. He had said that those from the institute who were admitted to the King’s Institute in Guindy were stable and being monitored.

“People think Covid-19 positive cases have come down, and hence they don’t need to wear masks or maintain social distance. This is happening at marriage halls, eateries, etc.”

The IIT-M management on their part said the Institute was functioning on limited capacity with only 10% students in the hostels.

“As soon as a spurt in 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,” the institute said in a statement on Monday.