Seventy-one residents of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) have tested positive for coronavirus. This includes 66 students. Following this, the institute closed down its labs, library and departments. The institute opened its doors for final-year students on December 7 as per an order from the government of Tamil Nadu.
According to a report, the first two cases were diagnosed on December 1 and by December 10, 14 more persons tested positive for the virus. The institute added 55 more cases in the last three days and has been declared a COVID hotspot.
A total of 774 students are reportedly inside the campus at present and a majority of the cases have been diagnosed from two hostels -- Krishna and Jamuna. Apart from students, one faculty member living in the institute guest house and four workers of the campus mess, have also tested positive for the virus. Following this, the students have been advised by the IIT-Madras management not to step out of their hostel rooms and to remain under quarantine.
Since December 1, 25 patients have been taken to the Kings Institute of Preventive Medicine in Guindy after contracting COVID-19. The hospital authorities alerted the health department after a chunk of patients got admitted from IIT-Madras on Saturday.
While the department of health and the campus authorities are yet to identify the cause of the infection, students have said that the crowding in the campus mess could be the reason. Since it is the only operational mess in the campus, students had crowded there during meal times and mask discipline was not followed since students had to eat food.
On December 9, the institute authorities brought in a new set of mess workers after four of them had tested positive for coronavirus. On December 10, however, the mess was shut down by the institute and food was sent to the studentsâ€™ rooms.
The institute then issued a circular asking all faculty members, research scholars, etc. to work from home. All those who were staying inside the campus have been advised to quarantine.