IIT Madras campus has been placed under temporary lockdown after 66 students and 5 staff members of the institution tested positive for coronavirus.
The state health department and the IIT management are yet to identify the source of the outbreak. As per the local reports, the students had claimed that there has been overcrowding in the hostel mess and that could have led the infection to spread.
This is one of the biggest clusters that has emerged in Chennai after the state government permitted educational institutions to function from December 7.
A total of 31 students tested positive on Sunday and were admitted to the government Covid Care Centre in Guindy. Following the outbreak, the institution has decided to close all the departments temporarily including all the centres, labs, and library. The IIT officials added that the students and staff members are being tested now. Close to 60 per cent of the process has been completed.
“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. 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,” the release read.
“IIT Madras has been constantly in touch with the civic authorities and has been following all protocols and safety measures,” the release added.