District medical and health officer Dr Juveria told told this newspaper that 46 students at the medical college tested positive from among the 200 tests conducted so far. (Representational Image. PTI)
Karimnagar: In an alarming development, 48 medical college students at the Chalmeda Anand Rao Institute of Medical Sciences in Bommakal village of Karimnagar were found Covid-19 positive on Sunday, in what is being billed as the single biggest outbreak of the disease in a medical college in Telangana state.
Students and staff of this private medical college celebrated its annual day a week ago. According to health department officials, students gathering in large groups on the occasion might have led to the latest outbreak.
District medical and health officer Dr Juveria told told this newspaper that 46 students at the medical college tested positive from among the 200 tests conducted so far. She also said a special medical camp would be held at the college on Monday to test all students and staff, and the students who were found positive, would be shifted to isolation centres.
Meanwhile, the Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences (KNRUHS) authorities, who oversee the functioning of private medical colleges in the state, told this newspaper that there was no information with the university on the plans by the college to conduct any celebrations or festivities that would require students and staff to gather in large numbers.
"No such permission was sought," a top KNRUHS official said.
The official also was aghast that Covid-19 appropriate behaviour was not followed at the medical college. "The university has written multiple letters to all private medical colleges to follow Covid-19 safety norms. We have no idea what variant of the Coronavirus might be lurking and what it can do," the official said.
The university, the official said, could take action on the medical college for not following Covid-19 appropriate behaviour despite being told to do so, if someone lodged a complaint about it.
It may be recalled that Covid-19 positive cases were first reported in Karimnagar district in the state during March 2020 with the arrival of religious preachers from Indonesia with the virus soon spreading to various regions across the state.
After one-and-a-half years, Karimnagar district is back in the news with the latest outbreak in a private medical college. Sources in the college said the total affected people could well reach a 100.
It was learnt that some students were complaining of fevers, coughs, and colds over the past three days. Since they were medical students, and in view the present weather condition, almost all of them feeling unwell, took to self-medication believing that their symptoms were of some seasonal disease.
But when many students started showing the same symptoms and expressed doubts, the college management began testing the medicos on Saturday night and found around 18 of them to be positive. Another 30 were found positive on Sunday. The college has some 1,000 students of whom around 600 are hostellers. Around 200 tests were conducted so far.
Following the students testing positive for Covid-19, the management of the college instead of keeping them in isolation, sent them to their respective homes. Classes have been cancelled for now.
Sources in the college said though some students began exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19, instead of getting them tested, and placing them in isolation, the students were allowed to roam freely on the campus and infect many others.