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Chennai hostels to be converted into quarantine facilities

Last Updated : 10 April 2020, 09:12 IST
Last Updated : 10 April 2020, 09:12 IST
Last Updated : 10 April 2020, 09:12 IST
Last Updated : 10 April 2020, 09:12 IST

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Hostels of prestigious institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) and Anna University are likely to be turned into quarantine facilities by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) as the number of positive patients in the metropolis goes up every passing day.

As per the health bulletin released Thursday evening, Chennai stood number one in the number of patients in the state at 163. The GCC has deployed more than 10,000 members of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) to screen members of all 18 lakh households in the city to prevent further spread of Covid-19.

As part of its contingency plan, the GCC has issued notices to 41 institutions, both government and private, to hand over their facilities so that they can be used to quarantine potential Covid-19 patients. People who display Covid-19 symptoms are generally quarantined at private facilities before being moved to isolation wards in hospitals once they test positive.

“We have issued notices to 41 institutions that have hostel facilities to hand over their buildings to us. These hostels will be used as quarantine facilities for people who need to be tested. Authorities are in touch with the management of the institutions to get things done,” P Kumaravel Pandian, Deputy Commissioner (Works), GCC, told DH.

While some institutions have already handed over the buildings, some are in the process of giving it to authorities, he added. IIT-M and Anna University have several hostels inside their sprawling campuses and these buildings will be useful to quarantine thousands of people if such a situation arose, officials said. These buildings can also be used for other Covid-19 prevention activities, the officials added.

Besides hostel buildings, the institutions have also been asked to hand over a few other structures for use of the authorities in their efforts to prevent Covid-19. The notices have been issued by the GCC under the Disaster Management Act.

Another official said some institutions were “hesitant” in handing over their buildings, but they are being made to understand that the government can take over any structure in times of health emergency.

The state, which has so far reported 834 positive Covid-19 cases, is trying to contain the disease in its current stage but is also preparing for the worst if it enters the third stage, which is community transmission.

Tamil Nadu has plans to test 1 lakh people beginning next week as it awaits the arrival of rapid test kits that can deliver results in half-hour. The state has also ordered another 4 lakh rapid test kits.

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Published 10 April 2020, 09:12 IST

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