Twenty staff members at Chennai’s star hotel, the Leela Palace, have tested positive for COVID-19, health authorities said on Monday.
This is Chennai’s second luxury hotel to have emerged as a COVID-19 cluster after the ITC Grand Chola.
On Saturday, at least 85 staff of the ITC hotel, their family members and neighbours were declared positive for the novel coronavirus infection. Though the hotel officials said they are following all state-directed standard operating procedures (SOPs), in addition to their own hygiene protocol, the Tamil Nadu health authorities ordered a saturation test covering all members of the establishment and across hotels in the city.
At the Leela Palace, 232 staff members were tested and results of about 10 per cent showed they had the coronavirus disease, a senior health official said.
According to officials, a total of 6,416 people are directly employed at hotels across Chennai. Of them, almost 68 per cent, or 4,392 staff members were tested for coronavirus.
Overall 125, close to 3 per cent, hotel employees have tested positive, and results of another 491 are awaited, the senor official said. All business meetings, events in city’s hotels are being closely monitored, he added.
“Hotels in Chennai are being periodically screened and sensitised. The Chennai Corporation was asked to conduct a saturation test for all the residents of the hotel,” Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan had said earlier.
This is the third instance of a high-profile COVID-19 cluster outbreak in Chennai in the recent months.
The first was detected at IIT-Madras in mid-December last year. Over 100 students got COVID-19 within a week’s time and the campus had to be put under temporary lockdown.