Is IIT Madras emerging as COVID-19 hotspot in Tamil Nadu?
Is the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT Madras) turning into a COVID-19 hotbed in Tamil Nadu? Well, the sudden surge in cases among the students does suggest so. The institute recorded 30 new cases among its students in just two days: 18 on Friday and 12 on Thursday. All of the students who tested positive reside in the IIT's hostels, according to officials.
- Though the number of daily cases in Tamil Nadu is not that high (39 cases recorded on Thursday), the infection rate is reportedly increasing. Its current caseload stands at 34,53,390.
- This has prompted the government to increase testing to control the spread of infection.
- The state, however, reported no COVID-19-related fatalities in the last 24 hours and the total death toll remained at 38,025.
Tamil Nadu's Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said the 12 IIT-M students who tested positive on Thursday didn't need hospitalization as they were "fine" and already "vaccinated." Radhakrishnan, who visited the campus on Thursday, also directed authorities to increase the testing there. Notably, the state's Health Department has so far collected 365 samples from IIT Madras.
On Thursday, Chennai had contributed the majority of the new coronavirus cases witnessed (39) in the state. It reported 21 new COVID-19 cases, followed by Chengalpet with six cases and Vellore and Thanjavur with two each. One case each was recorded in Kancheepuram, Nagapattinam, Namakkal, Tirupathur, Tiruvallur, and Tiruvarur. The state capital is the worst hit so far with a total caseload of 7,51,356.
"We have begun to do targeted testing on the [IIT-M] campus," Radhakrishnan said on Friday. He added, "We have collected 365 samples...a necessity may arise to test 1,500-2,000 people here in the locality if positive cases increase." Earlier, Radhakrishnan expressed concern over the gradual increase of cases in TN. He said genome analyses showed 90% of infections were caused by the BA.2 Omicron variant.
To prevent the spread of the virus, Radhakrishnan urged the public to strictly adhere to COVID-19-appropriate behavior and not to lower their guard. As the state is witnessing a gradual rise in cases, he said people must follow COVID-19 protocols to avoid worsening of the situation. Notably, unlike several states, Tamil Nadu did not relax its mask mandate despite a drop in cases earlier.
Radhakrishnan further said, "It has been decided to increase the number of samples that were tested by the Health Department per day." "It was 16,000 (16,583) yesterday, today it will be 18,000 (18,825)... We have directed department authorities to increase the total number of samples collected per day to 25,000," he stated on Friday.