The Himalaya Mess of IIT Madras. Photo: Twitter/@iitmadras.
Chennai: The Indian Institute of Technology-Madras has been hit by the coronavirus outbreak with over 100 people, a majority of them students, testing positive for COVID-19, a top health official said on Monday.
A total of 104 students, among others, have contracted the disease and all were doing well in the hospital, Tamil Nadu health secretary J. Radhakrishnan said, allaying fears of further spread.
Of the 444 samples lifted till date, 104 have tested positive for COVID-19, he said. He further added that from December 1 to 12, the number of positive samples from the institute steadily increased from a few samples to 33 specimens that day.
“All of them are being treated at the King’s Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research as per the directive of Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and they are all doing well,” he told reporters here.
A spokesperson for the institute said that all departments and labs had been shut and as of then, only about 700 students, mostly research scholars, were accommodated in nine hostels.
“Classes are being held online,” she said.
Radhakrishnan said that though the results showed a 20% positivity rate, there was no need for concern as measures like aggressive contact testing were in place as per the protocol.
Later, the top official told PTI that he was going to visit the IIT-M campus for inspection. He also went to visit the COVID-19 patients being treated at the hospital.
Health officials have also inspected the campus, he said.
“As soon as we started getting cases, we went in for aggressive testing and contact tracing. A majority of them are students and some canteen workers.”
On the source of infection, he said, “it is said that it could be from the mess,” but there was nothing to panic about any further spreading of the disease since all measures were in place to combat it, he said.