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Nalsar awaits all-clear after 5 catch swine flu, campus quarantined, measures taken

Nalsar battle against swine flu nearly won
Nalsar battle against swine flu nearly won

Nalsar Hyderabad has kept its doors open after five students had been diagnosed with the swine influenza virus last week Thursday (24 January) and is awaiting the doctors green light, after classes were cancelled for one day yesterday but have now resumed.

Nalsar vice chancellor (VC) Prof Faizan Mustafa told us today that the sick students were doing better, and that two of the diagnosed students were due to be discharged from hospital today and could return to campus or take leave to go home, as they preferred.

"Classes have resumed,” he said, adding that on Sunday a three-hour-long faculty meeting had looked at instituting measures such as holding online classes to avoid spreading the infections, but that by evening they were contacted by the state public health department, which said that the situation was stable and functioning normally.

However, Mustafa said that a few students’ and parents’ calls for actions could not necessarily be followed.

“It’s a public health situation,” he explained. “Immediately the director of public health with a team of eight doctors rushed to the campus. They are staying here 24/7, there’s a dedicated ambulance 108, in addition to our own ambulances on campus.”

“Masks were distributed to students - they said they wanted a better quality of M95 masks, so those were procured and distributed. Sanitisers were procured to all the students, and if students came in contact with affected people, they were also examined. These doctors were doing a great job - super specialised pulmonologists.”

In respect of some students’ calls that more should have been done, including giving medical exams to more students who had been living in the same hostels as the infected students, Mustafa said: “It is not their opinion, it is the opinion of experts. If I think you should be examined, or I should be, it’s not up to me.”

Tests for the swine flu virus were carried out by the state laboratory, and one could not demand for “700 samples to be tested from Nalsar, it can’t happen like this and shouldn’t happen like that”, according to him.

“I’m constantly talking to students, sending them SMS, responding to them on WhatsApp, responding to their parents,” he added, with the university’s chancellor, Telangana high court chief justice TB Radhakrishnan taking an active interest. “We have received huge appreciation from parents, though some of the parents are suggesting you close the university for 15 days.

“My semester ends on 30 April. Every Saturday there is an event. The semester can not be extended like this - students have to go on internships... If you are infected by anything like [swine flu], the whole campus is in danger of getting infected, you can not close the university and send the students off, then you will spread the virus to the whole country.

“[And] it’s not legal to do it [close the university].”

The situation was "absolutely normal” now, Mustafa said, with the official guidelines recommending an all-clear after six days without a new case.

That sixth day will be tomorrow.

Some of the messages sent by administration to students

26 January:

Dear Students,

I just had a long discussion with the Director, Public Health Department of Telangana State who met me along with a team of six doctors. We have set up a Health Camp at the University Health Clinic. The team of doctors will remain available 24 x 7. A dedicated ambulance 108 has already reached campus and will remain available for any emergency.

I once again reiterate that prevention is better than cure and therefore students are advised to wash their hands and be vigilant about any symptoms. We have enough stock of medicines and there is no reason to panic. We will yet again put up brave face to this medical condition.

With lots of love.

Yours sincerely,

VICE-CHANCELLOR

Another message:

Dear Students,

I again had a discussion with the medical team and communicated your concerns to them. They told me that they did not break the news of three students testing positive here to ensure that students do not panic and broke this news to the affected students after they left the University. Do not go out as we must not spread the virus.

As your guardian I am keeping a close vigil and trying my best to give you all possible assistance.

Lots of love.

Faizan Mustafa

28 January:

Dear All,

I am glad to inform you that I have just now received a communication from Director, Public Health, Government of Telangana in which he has informed me that a High Level Meeting was again held today at the level of Principal Secretary, Government of Telangana on the epidemic situation at NALSAR with State and National Expert Teams in attendance. In the opinion of the experts, the situation is under control and stable and there is no reason to panic.

It was unanimously resolved in the aforesaid meeting that the regular business at NALSAR can now resume and students and staff members can freely move within campus and outside by taking preventive measures as advised by the medical team of Public Health Department.

I have also been advised to communicate to you that if anyone develops flu like symptoms she / he should immediately report to the Medical Centre for further follow up treatment. The High Level Committee has also desired that the students be informed that all cases of flu are not H1N1 (Swine Flu). The possibility of normal flu because of sudden fall in temperature is quite high.

Finally, the High Level Committee had decided that no student of NALSAR shall go out of Hyderabad till further orders are communicated to the University in this regard.

In view of this positive development and as advised by the State Government, University shall have normal classes from tomorrow, i.e., from January 29, 2019.

With regards,

Yours sincerely,

(FAIZAN MUSTAFA)

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