Luxury hotels across Chennai have come under the scanner of health department officials after two renowned hotels reported clusters of Covid-19 infection in rapid succession.
The Leela Palace reported 20 of its staff members testing positive for the virus, while ITC Grand Chola, another centrally located hotel, has reported over 85 cases so far. In all, over 125 cases have come to light from the city's luxury hotels, contrasting with a steadily declining overall state count.
Taking cognizance of the situation, the city corporation has begun saturation testing of hotel staff across the city particularly focusing on those units that have had large gatherings in the recent past, according to an official aware of the containment measures.
The City corporation has been closely monitoring the situation at these hotels. Facing immense pressure on pricing and unspeakably low occupancy levels, the luxury hotels in Chennai, much like those in other metropolitans, have had to cut down on staff strength and are running their units with reduced human resources. With restaurants opening up, the Food & Beverages segments of these hotels are providing the much-needed shot in the arm to keep businesses afloat.
The Chennai corporation officials are adept at cluster containment, having dealt with similar situations in the past like tracing the returnees of the Tablighi Jamaat conference in March last year.
According to the state health department, the daily COVID count across the state had dropped below 900 cases over the past several days. On Sunday, the daily count was 867 cases. In Chennai, less than 300 people test positive from the virus every day, a clear indication of an ebb in the virality.
Therefore, Tamil Nadu has, more or less, fallen in line with the national trend of lowering cases. However, the outbreak of cases in these luxury hotels poses a new challenge to the Palaniswami government, which has given little room for the opposition to mount an attack over the containment of the virus.