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COVID-19 tally at IIT-Madras rises to 60; CM M K Stalin to hold meeting with Collectors

The total number of COVID-19 cases at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M), touched 60 on Sunday as against 55 a day earlier nd the Health Department has urged the district authorities to be “prudent” and not let the guard down in controlling the spread of the virus. With Tamil Nadu continuing to see an uptick in the daily cases, Chief Minister M K Stalin is scheduled to chair a meeting with Collectors and district health officials on Monday to discuss the prevalence of COVID-19 in the State, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian said here on Sunday.

Principal Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan, in his letter to the Collectors, called for effective administration of vaccines to eligible people, including administering of booster doses.

The Health Minister, along with Radhakrishnan and senior department officials, inspected the IIT-M campus today to take stock of the situation.

“New infections at IIT-Madras have gone up to 60 till date. As many as 2,015 people were tested of the total 7,300 at the institution,” Subramanian told reporters on the campus.

Noting that the spread of the infection was largely under control in Tamil Nadu, Subramanian said the State was reporting nil fatalities for more than a month and appealed to the public “not to panic” due to the rise in cases.

The government has decided to hold a mega vaccination drive next month, he said.

“One lakh vaccination camps are planned across the State on May 8. The exercise will focus on 1.46 crore people who are yet to receive the second dose of vaccines and 54 lakh people are yet to receive the first dose,” the Minister said.

To those people aged above 60 and eligible to receive the booster dose, the department is administering the vaccines daily, he said.

Radhakrishnan, in the letter, said the recent cluster at IIT-Madras was a “pointer” to the urgent need to ensure and strictly enforce COVID-appropriate.

“The rising cases is a pointer to increase in surveillance and ensure self-health monitoring and testing is advocated…”, he said.

The Health Secretary said people continue to flout the mask rule in markets, film theatres, malls and the least the Health Department can do was to increase the awareness drive and enforce the decision on imposing the fine on violators.

On those tested COVID-19 positive, he said the samples should be sent for whole genomic sequencing to determine the variant or sub-variant, though only Omicron variant (of COVID-19) was reported last month.

“The situation is in control so far, but it is always better to be prudent, cautious and guarded and more importantly well-prepared and not let the guard down and also plan for effective administration of vaccinations,” he said.

On Saturday, the cases at the institute climbed to 55, the State government said.

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