Chennai: Just when the spread of Coronavirus infection in Tamil Nadu appeared to be receding, the premier technical institute of Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) has turned into a Covid-19 hotspot. The number of IIT-M students who tested positive for coronavirus has increased to 103 on Monday and there is fear that the number might go up.
All those who have tested positive including research scholars and staff have been admitted to the Kings Institute here.
The students allege that the IIT-M's decision to run only one mess could be the most probable reason for the large scale spread of coronavirus.
One cannot ensure mask or social distancing as students mostly eat and are in congregation -- that too in large numbers.
A total of 774 students are in the campus and most of those who were infected were residents of two hostels -- Krishna and Jamuna.
"These two hostels were not used as Covid-19 quarantine centres. The infection could be multiple sources," a research scholar told IANS preferring anonymity.
According to the scholar, there are women students who have been infected and admitted in the Kings Institute.
On December 6, there was an information that about five tested positive for the virus in Krishna Hostel. Five more tested positive on December 7/8. After that inmates of Krishna hostel were asked to go into quarantine and everybody was asked to undergo tests, the scholar added.
Queried about informing the parents, the scholar said all are mature and have been diagnosed with minimal symptoms.
"As of now I haven't seen parents coming to Kings Institute," the scholar said.
The IIT-M has decided to shutdown all its departments, centres and asked their staff to work from home and anyone with the symptoms like fever, dry cough, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of taste /smell, or any other symptoms have been requested to get in touch the hospital officials.
The post graduate students, research scholars and others have been asked to be confined to their rooms with arrangements made to deliver food to their rooms.
On Sunday, 32 fresh coronavirus infected cases were reported and the Tamil Nadu government has instructed that all the students be tested for the virus infection.
Till Sunday, there were 66 students and five staff members who had tested positive for coronavirus infection.
According to officials, the students who had returned to the campus were quarantined for two weeks, but the quarantining capacity is limited.
Those who have been infected with coronavirus are progressing well, officials said.
(With IANS Inputs)