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ITC Grand Chola: Luxury hotel in Chennai turns into coronavirus hotspot; 85 test positive

A health official prepares a vaccine kit as she takes part in dry run or a mock drill for Covid vaccine delivery at a primary health centre in Chennai. (AFP)Premium
A health official prepares a vaccine kit as she takes part in dry run or a mock drill for Covid vaccine delivery at a primary health centre in Chennai. (AFP)

  • Out of the total of 609 samples collected till now, 85 people were found to be Covid-19 positive
  • In a release, ITC Grand Chola has said that all events at the property have been conducted in adherence to the norms mandated by the authorities

Around 85 people, including staff members of ITC Grand Chola in Guindy, have tested positive for coronavirus from 15 December to 1 January, according to reports.

Out of the total of 609 samples collected till now, 85 people were found to be Covid-19 positive. Following this, the Greater Chennai Corporation has been instructed to carry out saturation testing of all the guests at the hotel, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said.

The Greater Chennai Corporation has put up a date-wise breakup of the total number of positive cases.

Date-wise breakup of the total number of positive cases.
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Date-wise breakup of the total number of positive cases.

In a statement, ITC Grand Chola has said that all events at the property have been conducted in adherence to the norms mandated by the authorities in the city.

Additionally, only 50% capacity of the hall is used to ensure maximum distancing and safety, it said. The first case was reported after a chef got infected on 15 December.

As many as 16 and 13 cases were recorded on 31 December, 2020, and 1 January, 2021. "Of the total of 609 samples collected till now from the hotel and in and around the residences of the staff, 85 have so far been found to be positive. They all displayed mild symptoms and were sent home after treatment," Radhakrishnan said.

ITC Grand Chola said all associates were regularly tested and monitored, "which is an ongoing process and part of our hygiene protocol." "Extreme care and diligence continues to be followed at all touch points and all necessary information has been shared with the authorities," it said.

Radhakrishnan said hotels are periodically screened and have been sanitised. They were also told to strictly adhere to the government guidelines on precautions.

"The Chennai Corporation was asked to conduct saturation test for all the residents of the hotel," he told reporters when his attention was drawn to the new emerging cluster at the hotel, close on the heels of 200 students of IIT Madras testing positive for COVID-19 in December last.

ITC Grand Chola claimed that "while the GCC has classified some associates as asymptomatic and mild, the majority of our associates are working from home and have been absent from the property and so have no contact with other associates and guests."

The civic staff under Joint Commissioner of Health, GCC, S Dhivyadarshini, conducted fever camps and all employees and guests were advised to undergo testing.

The corporation, which commenced screening of staff and guests at luxury hotels on Saturday, hopes to complete COVID- 19 tests at over 25 luxury hotels in two days.

Currently, the number of persons permitted for a banquet depends on the seating capacity of the hall, but the number should not exceed 50% of the seating capacity, a senior corporation official said.

Due to coronavirus-related restrictions, event organisers have been asked to permit only 500 people in a 9,000 sq ft hall, instead of 1,000. ITC Grand Chola said the health and safety of guests and associates is of paramount importance.

"The property has been practicing the necessary SoPs laid down by the authorities, along with its own accredited stringent sanitation and hygiene protocol," it said.

With agency inputs

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