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COVID-19 blast in IIT Madras, over 100 test positive

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With over a hundred people testing positive for COVID-19, the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras had to shut down its departments and labs. Notably, the number of coronavirus infections is likely to rise. Those who tested positive include research scholars, students, staff and they have been admitted to King’s Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research.

A spokesperson of the institute said around 700 students, mostly research scholars, were accommodated in the nine hostels. There are 774 students in the campus and most of those infected were residents of two hostels—Krishna and Jamuna.

Five tested positive On December 6, and another on December 7 and 8 at Krishna Hostel. After that the inmates of Krishna Hostel were asked to go into quarantine and everybody was asked to undergo a test, a scholar said.

IIT Madras shuts departments

Meanwhile, IIT-M has decided to shut down all its departments and centres and has asked its staff to work from home. Anyone with the symptoms like fever, dry cough, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of taste/smell, or any other sign has been requested to get in touch with the hospital officials.

Postgraduate students, research scholars and others have been asked to be confined to their rooms with arrangements made to deliver packed food at the hostel itself.

Only 10% of students in hostels

IIT said in a statement that the Institute has been functioning with limited capacity and has only 10 per cent of its students in the hostels. As soon as a spurt in symptomatic cases was reported by some students from the hostels, the Institute consulted the civic authorities and arranged for all students to be tested for COVID.

Also Read: India’s COVID-19 tally nearing 99 lakh, death toll crosses 1.43 lakh

IIT Madras has been permitting research scholars who need to do experimental work to return to campus provided they undergo a 14-day quarantine and are tested as well.

Some project Staff working on research projects and staying in the city have been coming to work in the labs, after this was permitted by the government. An SoP is in place to determine how many scholars and project staff can work safely in each lab based on its size, ventilation etc.

Research scholars who wished to return earlier (out of turn with respect to the SoP involving quarantine before release into the hostels) were permitted to do so if they were willing to stay off-campus, till their turn came to be accepted in hostels and provided their lab could accommodate them.

“We will attempt to raise our capacity to quarantine returning students since the government is releasing the hostels they took custody of to quarantine COVID patients during the last seven months,” IIT Madras said in the statement.

 

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