Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian stoked controversy on Wednesday by accusing the North Indian students as the main reason for the rise of covid cases in the state.
The state reported Covid clusters in four universities in Chennai on Wednesday.
“In the last three months, the number of Covid-19 cases has remained below 100 in the state with no deaths. However, in educational institutes like Anna University, IIT (Madras), Sathya Sai (Medical College), there has been a spike in the number of cases. The reason is that in several states the Covid-19 spread has not been brought under control; particularly in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. When students from these states reach the institutions, a cluster emerges,” Subramanian said.
Subramanian inspected the Vellore Institute of Technology, Kilambakkam, where a cluster of COVID-19 cases was reported recently.
According to an official press release, 44 students have tested positive in the last 24 hours at the campus, taking the tally to 118.
Subramanian received backlash for his comments. Uttar Pradesh Health Minister responded to TN Health Minister’s comments on Twitter by calling his comments ‘irresponsible and derogatory’.
Tamil Nadu BJP President Annamalai criticised the move and said, “They are letting the people down with their idiocy.”
Despite receiving criticism, Subramanian justified his comments by saying the TN government ensured prompt action to curb the cases, while certain states like New Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring Kerala have not ensured that.
“Anna University accounts for 23 cases now. VIT campus at Kelambakkam has 163 confirmed cases from out of 4,192 screened through RT-PCR. The count is likely to go up in VIT as we have subjected the remaining 1,500 students to RT-PCR test,” said Subramanian.
He added, “The cases spread to other students from the hostellers who come from those States. But, coronavirus cases have remained below 100 for the last 3 months in Tamil Nadu with no fatalities due to COVID-19.”
“Those infected will recover soon and the institutes have been asked to ensure all students are adhering to the Covid-19 guidelines issued by the government. The government has relaxed all restrictions for the people to live a normal life. To maintain that, the public should follow the safety guidelines. Wearing face masks in crowded places, washing hands frequently are to be followed regularly. Eligible people, who are still due for their (vaccine) doses, should get vaccinated,” the minister said.