LATEST NEWS HEADLINES: IIT-Madras has been temporarily shut down. All the departments, labs and libraries have been left isolated; the state has quarantined host elites and staff members, right after when 71 people, comprising of 66 students, who tested positive for COVID-19 infection December 1st 2020, onwards.
This has been the most huge folk, seen by the city of Madras after the reopening of the campuses’ gates for the final year students.
On Friday- the campus, was declared a corona virus pandemic hotspot by the Government- has added 55 newly detected cases to the study hub’s COVID-19 tally.
IIT-Madras Officials’ takeaway-
There are 774 students on-campus, a majority of whom are currently infected residents of two hostels, namely Krishna and Jamuna.
On Saturday, the host elites were guided by the management-not to step out of their rooms.
To put on record- one faculty member residing at a guest house and four mess workers have also tested positive for corona virus.
Though the health department hand-in-hand with IIT-Madras are still yet to put finger at the cause behind this terrible outbreak in the campus, many students hold on to the belief that- the mess stands at the option for optimal crowding and furthered that- that could have been a reasonable cause.
Research scholars claim-
A research scholar said, quoting her,“Earlier, we could do with just one mess as there were fewer students on campus. But after students returned, the mess was crowded.” She furthered, “Mess is not a place where we wear our masks. So all of us were vulnerable. Four workers in the mess have tested positive.”
Measures by the management team-
On December 9th 2020, the management called for a fresh sack of staff members for the mess, thereby after ensuring each one of them tested negative.
The following day, on December 10th 2020, the dining hall was closed and left isolated, food was sent to the respective students’ rooms.
Academia zone, including all the departments and labs have been vacated, shut, isolated, and disinfected.
Worthwhile statement from the Madras Healthcare-
Public health department noted a sense of alarm, when 10 students were admitted to the Institute of Ageing at KIPM, the King Institute of Preventive Medicine, in Guindy; they cited COVID-19 symptoms ranging from severe to moderate. The government hospital registered 25 admissions from IIT-Madras campus December 1st, 2020.
A senior doctor added, quoting him, “We saw sporadic admissions, but when a group of people were admitted on Saturday, we alerted officials. Most patients are recovering well.”
Circular from the IIT-Madras registrar-
It read that faculty members, staff members, project staff associates, and research scholars were ordered to work from home. Students, staff and scholars residing on campus were advised to self-quarantine. Those with flu-like symptoms were asked to get admitted in the campus hospital.
Bhaskar Ramamurthi, IIT Board of Director, said- quoting him- “after a spurt in symptomatic cases being reported by some students residing in the hostels, IIT-Madras consulted civic authorities and arranged for all students residing in hostels to be tested.” He furthered that- “To be cautious, all students have been asked to remain in their rooms and packed food is being supplied to the students in the hostels.”
Mr. Ramamurthi said in an interview that- the institute has been in order, with limited capacity comprising of 10% of the total students in the hostels. Cutting some slag for the research scholars, who need to perform their required experimental work and project staff, who are working on research projects, are allowed to visit labs for their work. He cited that- students, who returned to the hostels were quarantined for two weeks, for precautionary measures. “Our capacity to quarantine (with room service) is limited, and this limits the rate at which we can bring back scholars to the hostels,” he added.
While IIT-Madras will shoot out of this outbreak, this incident stands as an eye opener for other institutional bodies to take all the requisite precautionary measures, before and after, all throughout.