As many as 61 students at the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta have tested positive for the coronavirus since April 2 and are currently in isolation on campus.
Two buildings in which every single-occupancy room has an attached toilet have been earmarked for the students who started reporting symptoms since the end of March.
Three doctors are in charge and the institute has tied up with top Kolkata hospitals for regular guidance on home care.
More than 570 students have left the campus since the beginning of April. Some 335 are still on campus, including the 61 students in isolation.
“Thankfully all the students have mild symptoms, no one has had to be hospitalised and all emergency measures like oxygen cylinders and ambulances are in place in case of any problem,” said Professor Prashant Mishra who is president of IIM-C’s COVID-19 committee.
For months now, IIM-C has had strict rules in place about entry into the campus for students. All students returning to campus were supposed to come with RT-PCR negative reports which they did. By mid-January, almost all of over 900 students were back on campus and at the time of entry, they were all negative.
There is a possibility that someone contracted the coronavirus in transit and may have spread it.
But the most likely cause of this outbreak are the Holi celebrations by the students “violating all IMC advisories”, according to sources.
“There must have been some person who was positive and it spread,” sources said.
Seven students reported positive on April 2, six more on 4th, 12 on 5th and 19 on April 6, which was the worst breakout.
The rest of the cases were reported in the subsequent days and results of some 30 more tests are awaited.
IIM-C authorities say every possible precaution is being taken. Civic and health departments of the government have been contacted to keep the state in the loop and get help and advice on handling the situation. A sanitisation drive is on.
According to sources, IIM Ahmedabad and Bangalore have also had reports of Covid. Ahmedabad students apparently tested positive after they went to watch an India-England cricket match.
Battling a ferocious second wave of infections, India is undergoing its worst phase of the coronavirus and overtook Brazil on Monday for the second spot in the tally of nations with the highest cases.