At least 66 students along with five staff members of IIT Madras have tested positive for the Coronavirus infection since December 1.
The first organisation has now been put under temporary lockdown. IIT Madras has now emerged as the largest Coronavirus cluster in Chennai City. While the cause of the outbreak is yet to be identified, students suspect it was due to overcrowding in the hostel mess. The state government reportedly approved the operation of educational institutions in the state as of 7 December.
The engineering institution has announced that about 60 per cent of all students and staff members have been screened for Wuhan Coronavirus and that the rest of the process is ongoing. IIT Madras has shut down all its offices, including laboratories and libraries. A total of 700 students are estimated to be staying in 9 campus hostels.
In a press release, IIT Madras announced that the institute runs with just 10% of students in hostels. “As soon as a spurt in symptomatic cases has been identified by some students residing in the hostels, the Institute has consulted the civic authorities and arranged for all students residing in the hostels to be screened for COVID. To be vigilant, all students have been asked to stay in their rooms and packed food is being given to the students in the hostels,” the institute said.
The Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) have been laid down for research scholars and project staff, working in labs, and can work in a safe environment.
“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 similar to project staff, till their turn came to be accepted in the hostels, and provided their lab could accommodate them,” IIT Madras added.
“Some Project Staff working on research projects and staying in the city have been coming to work in the labs, once this was permitted by the government. A SoP is in place to determine how many scholars and project staff can work safely in each lab based on its size, ventilation etc.,” the release read. The institution clarified that it was in touch with civic authorities and adhering to safety measures.