Chennai: While the overall fresh COVID-19 daily average numbers have fallen below 1,000 in Tamil Nadu, Health Department authorities have been rattled by the emergence of fresh clusters in luxury hotels in Chennai. Over the last two days, 102 persons employed in a couple of star hotels in the city have reported positive for novel coronavirus disease. In one of the five star hotels belonging to the ITC group, 85 out of 609 employees ranging from chefs to housekeeping staff tested positive in a single day.
Following the development, the Greater Chennai Corporation directed the ITC group hotel to shut down its banquet halls for 10 days. In the wake of the development, Health officials decided to test employees in as many as 25 luxury hotels in the State capital.
On Sunday, the Greater Chennai Corporation officials said that as high as 8.6 per cent of the hotel staff have tested positive till now. While three more persons of the ITC group hotel have tested positive, in another star hotel 20 persons were found to have been infected by COVID-19. Banquets in all star hotels were ordered to be cancelled with immediate effect.
“We will continue such routing testing, as a measure of abundant caution, in star hotels over the next three weeks. Similar exercises would be undertaken in working men’s mansions and women’s hostels as well as institutional hostels,” Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told journalists.
The authorities would also turn their focus on gatherings in gated communities and beach houses. Last month, the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Madras) had turned into a COVID-19 cluster prompting authorities to shut down multiple academic and research facilities.