The testing of all students in the Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Karnataka’s Udupi district to detect COVID-19 cases began on Tuesday as 72 new cases were reported on campus on Monday. The development comes days after the campus, particularly its hostel areas, were declared a containment zone by the Udupi district administration after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
"As of 1 pm, samples were collected from 600 students inside the campus. By tomorrow (Wednesday), we expect to cover all the students and other members residing inside the campus," Prashant Bhat, the nodal officer for COVID-19 in Udupi district said.
As of Monday night, there were 371 COVID-19 cases reported among students and contacts tested so far. The campus and its hostel areas were declared a containment zone last Wednesday after the first set of cases were reported.
A notice issued by Manipal Institute of Technology to its students on Tuesday stated that all students on campus will be tested on a priority basis. "Udupi District Health Office has informed that RT-PCR testing will be carried out on all those residing in the containment zone at MIT, Manipal campus. The student residents of MIT hostels will be tested on a priority basis from March 23," read the notice.
Earlier, contacts of students who tested positive for the coronavirus were being tested in a facility set up inside the campus. The two testing centres inside the campus are at the MIT Shuttle Badminton Court and near the Annapoorna Mess. Fever clinics and testing facilities have been set up inside the MIT campus by Kasturba Medical College (KMC), a constituent college of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE).
"This is a relief because until now, there were few students who were waiting to get tested even though they were symptomatic but the testing was covering mostly the contacts of positive cases," a student inside the campus told TNM.
The student said that block-wise testing had begun inside the campus from Tuesday. "In the past week, we have been stepping outside only for essential needs and to eat at the food court. Movement inside the campus has reduced in the last few days," the student added.
Few students left the campus last Thursday, a day after it was declared a containment zone, police officials in Manipal confirmed.
Udupi district health officials told TNM that there are around 5,000 people currently inside the campus. Few hostel blocks inside the campus have been earmarked as quarantine centres for COVID-19 cases. Most of the cases detected so far are asymptomatic, district health officials said.
The containment zone restrictions are currently restricted only to the MIT campus area in the town. There are no restrictions in other areas including the KMC campus.