Over 100 students and staffers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras have tested positive for Covid-19 forcing authorities to shut down the premier institute temporarily.
There are 774 students on campus currently. The students who have been infected are all hostel inmates. A total of 444 people had undergone Covid-19 tests.
The infected have been shifted to an exclusive Covid-care facility at the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research.
The cause of infection is yet to be identified although overcrowding at the only operational mess for students staying in hostels is suspected to be the reason for the spread.
A circular from the IIT-M registrar directed faculty members, staff, and research scholars to work from home. Students, staff and scholars staying on campus were advised to go into quarantine. Those with flu-like symptoms have been asked to approach the campus hospital.
IIT-M Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi said that following a spike in cases, the management consulted civic authorities and arranged for all students residing in hostels to be tested.
Of the 444 samples tested till date, 104 have tested positive for Covid-19, he said, adding that from December 1 to 12, samples from the infection within the institute steadily increased from a few to 33 specimens just yesterday.
The institute has been functioning on limited capacity with 10 per cent students in the hostels.
All districts have been sensitised to keep a watch on public places especially educational institutions and hostels and also fever surveillance has been intensified, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan noted.