Health Minister’s Remark Kicks Up Storm

Tamil Nadu health minister Ma Subramanian’s controversial remark alleging “North Indian students spreading Covid-19” in the state has triggered a fresh row on Wednesday with the BJP attacking the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) minister for the “extremely irresponsible and derogatory statement.”

Commenting on coronavirus cases nearing over 100 cases per day mark, the state health minister earlier in the day said, “North Indian students are spreading Covid-19 in Tamil Nadu. Students from Kelambakkam VIT College and Sathyasai college have got affected by Covid in hostels and classes. In some North Indian states, Covid cases are still increasing.”

Subramanian’s remark comes as the state health department is on a high alert due to a surge in Covid-19 cases. The Tamil Nadu health department sounded alert after the state registered 98 fresh cases on Tuesday due to the formation of clusters.

According to the authorities, Covid-19 clusters have been detected at campuses of Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, Anna University, and Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT).

The statement stirred up a storm on social media with the post going viral and several political leaders slamming Subramanian’s statement.

BJP leader and Uttar Pradesh Minister Jitin Prasada said the remark was ‘an extremely irresponsible and derogatory statement.’ In a tweet he said, “Disease and pandemics do not know any state boundaries or borders as we have all experienced. This is an extremely irresponsible and derogatory statement by the Heath minister of TN, insulting North Indians.”

Meanwhile, Covid-19 cases are likely to increase as students are yet to be tested. “There is a possibility of an increase in the number of cases as 1500 students are yet to be tested and the state health department is on a high alert in this matter,” Subramanian told IANS news agency.

According to the news report, IIT- M had reported 237 fresh infection cases, Sree Sathya Sai Medical College 74, and Anna university 23 cases. While Covid cases in IIT- M and Sri Sathya Sai Medical college are under control, six positive cases were reported at Anna university on Monday.

State health secretary J Radhakrishnan has issued circulars to district collectors of Chengalpattu and Chennai warning of developing family clusters and directed the district collectors to conduct checks and isolation of symptomatic persons at district entry points.

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