The number of COVID-19 infections identified at Vellore Institute of Technology, Kelambakkam campus, will increase for the next two days, as all the students are being tested, Health Minister Ma. Subramanian has said.
The campus has around 15,000 students, of whom 5,600 are first-year students. Almost 80% are from north Indian States.
“So far, 4,092 RT-PCR tests have been done. Another 1,500 students are yet to be tested. We will complete the testing by tomorrow. We expect another 30-40 cases to be identified tomorrow. Till date, 163 persons have tested positive for the infection,” he said at a press meet on Wednesday on the sidelines of a function to distribute assistance to persons with filariasis.
According to him, five students who were identified in the first two days had already tested negative for the infection, which was an indication that they had recovered.
“We met the students, and they are doing well. We have asked them, in turn, to reassure their parents. The students are asymptomatic, and all those with symptoms are expected to get well in the next 10 days. We have advised the institute not to declare a holiday for students or ask them to stay at home. We have urged them to follow physical distancing norms in dining halls. The samples have been sent for genome testing,” he said.
Around 99% of the COVID-19 infections detected in the institutional clusters were of Omicron sub-variants, Mr. Subramanian said. Most of the infections were of the BA.2 variant. One person had the BA.4 variant, and has recovered since. Another person was diagnosed with the BA.3 variant, and they had also recovered, he added.
Clusters in Sathya Sai Medical College, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Anna University, and VIT have occurred in the past, as these institutions have a large number of students from northern States which had seen a significant rise in infections.
At IIT, all 237 infected students had recovered. At Anna University, 23 persons were under treatment. At Sathya Sai Medical College, all 74 infected persons had recovered, the Minister said.
The Minister and the Health Secretary are expected to supervise the health checks on persons arriving from the 12 countries that have reported cases of monkeypox. “The secretary has already issued circulars to all district collectors and they are on alert. In the past four days we haven’t heard of any infection from international airports,” he said.
“We request people to carry on with their normal life but wear mask in crowded places and wash hands frequently. World over those who are vaccinated have remained safe,” he said. As on date in the State, 1.75 crore people are yet to take their first or second dose. “We have around 1 crore doses. On June 12 we will hold a mega camp. We request people to avail themselves of the opportunity to get vaccinated,” Mr. Subramanian said.
Earlier, the Minister distributed appointment orders to 20 persons on humanitarian grounds. He also distributed an assistance of ₹1,000 to persons with filariasis.
Mr. Subramanian said in the State 8,023 persons lived with stage 4 of the disease. Around 100 patients from Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram, were taught to clean their legs.
Mr. Subramanian said the financial assistance was instituted by former Chief Minister Karunanidhi in 2010 as those in the fourth stage of the disease cannot walk and require assistance even for their daily activities. Such persons are also provided a maintenance kit. In the State, another 5,000 persons are in the first and second stage of the disease, he added.