The last one month have been nothing short of a nightmare for a luxury hotel in Chennai as close of 85 people – including staff – from ITC Grand Chola have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. From December 15 last, around 609 samples were collected from the hotel and 85 of them have come out positive.

As a result, the Greater Chennai Corporation has ordered that complete testing of all the guests at the hotel should be carried out, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

ITC Grand Chola, though, claimed that all events at the property have been conducted in adherence to the norms mandated by the authorities. Additionally, only 50 per cent capacity of the hall is used to ensure maximum distancing and safety, the hotel said.

The first case was reported after a chef got infected on December 15. As many as 16 and 13 cases were reported on December 31, 2020, and January 1, 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 was quoted as saying.

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,” the statement added.

Radhakrishnan said hotels are periodically screened and have been sensitised. “The Chennai Corporation was asked to conduct saturation test for all the residents of the hotel,” he told reporters.

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.’

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

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,” the statement issued by the hotel read.

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