The campus of Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), an engineering college located in Manipal in Udupi district of Karnataka, was declared a containment zone by the Udupi district administration late on Wednesday evening. The development comes after 52 cases were reported in the campus over the last two days, with 25 cases on Tuesday and 27 cases on Wednesday.
The decision was confirmed by Udupi Deputy Commissioner G Jagadeesha. The areas coming under the MIT campus were cordoned off and the movement of students in hostels and others residing in the campus will now be restricted for a period of two weeks. A fresh round of COVID-19 tests will be conducted on students in the campus.
District officials said that the restrictions are currently limited to the MIT campus in Manipal and do not cover other areas of the town, which includes the Kasturba Medical College (KMC) campus.
Narayana Sabhahit, Registrar of the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) said, "The academic area will be excluded but the hostel areas will be a containment zone. Students in the hostel will be asked to restrict their movement. We will continue online classes but laboratory classes are postponed. If there are any examinations in the next two weeks, they will be postponed," the registrar said.
The administration in MIT, which is a part of MAHE, also sent messages to its staff and students stating that classes will be held online for the next two weeks. Students in a few other colleges affiliated to MAHE also confirmed that that they will be having online classes for the next two weeks.
Udupi district officials said that they were collecting details about the number of COVID-19 cases reported in the MAHE campus before discussing further measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. A large number of students studying in colleges under MAHE also stay outside the campus in apartments.
Udupi district reported 33 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, of which 27 were reported in the tests conducted in MAHE. This comes a day after Karnataka reported over 1,000 COVID-19 cases for the first time in three months. The state reported 1135 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and 1275 cases on Wednesday. The state has reported a surge in cases in the last two weeks and travellers from Maharashtra and Kerala have been mandated to carry negative COVID-19 test certificates.
However, after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said that the status quo in Karnataka has not been changed. He denied speculations of a fresh lockdown or curfew in the state.
Previously in November 2020, MAHE reported a spike in COVID-19 cases after students were tested on their return to the campus in Manipal but the positivity rate of cases at the time was less than 1 %. Since then, students in colleges under MAHE have had classes in their college campus along with online classes.