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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Chennai: 183 infected with Covid at IIT-Madras; CM orders statewide testing at colleges

The cluster of Covid-19 cases in IIT-Madras has prompted the government to instruct officials to monitor other colleges and universities across the state.

By: Express Web Desk | Chennai | Updated: December 16, 2020 8:21:04 am
IIT Madras, Chennai, chennai news, Chennai covid cases, IIT Madras Covid cases, Anna University covid cases, Indian ExpressTamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan Tuesday confirmed that three more people from Chennai have contracted the UK variant of Covid-19 (Express Photo)

At least 79 residents of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chennai tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, taking the number of infected on the campus to 183. 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.

“Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami has instructed district collectors to closely monitor other colleges and universities. We are conducting aggressive testing… 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,” Dr Radhakrishnan told reporters in Chennai.

He said the IIT-Madras cluster served as a lesson for those who didn’t wear masks and follow safety precautions. “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.

“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. We will initiate action against the management for letting these things happen. We cannot keep requesting them to follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). We are issuing a warning through this press meet,” he added.

Dr Radhakrishnan said he visited members of IIT-Madras who were admitted to the King’s Institute in Guindy. “They are stable and being monitored,” he confirmed.

Meanwhile, Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash said samples had been taken for testing from some residents at the IIT campus. A second round of testing would be conducted in 10 days, during which the remaining samples would be taken. This approach, he said, was known as the ‘100 per cent saturation approach’.

“We applied the same strategy at the Koyembedu market and other areas in the city. We tested more than four lakh samples in repeat cycles. Through this method, if we complete two cycles, we can eradicate the danger,” he said.

“Similar to this, our zonal officers have started conducting tests in other institutions in the city,” he added.

Students residing in Anna University hostels are undergoing testing after one student got a fever. According to S Iniyan, the Dean of College of Engineering, Guindy, as many as 400 students will be tested in the first phase.

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