New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation shut its offices Wednesday, just two days after all central ministry offices reopened amid the lockdown, following a junior staffer testing positive for Covid-19.
Ministry officials said Block B in the Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan in New Delhi’s Jor Bagh, where the civil aviation ministry headquarters is situated, will be sealed.
“He is a junior staffer from the ministry who started showing some symptoms Sunday … Just mild cold and cough,” a senior official from the ministry said. “Monday, he got himself tested, and yesterday the reports came from Max Saket that he has tested positive,” the official added.
“The entire building has been sealed … It will be fumigated and sanitised. The NDMC and the Delhi government have already been informed,” another senior official from the ministry said, adding, “As for us, we took a call to go back and work from home for another three days because all said and done, the staffer moved around in corridors, lifts, washrooms, etc.”
The official added, “The district surveillance team in Delhi has also been roped in for contact tracing of the staffer, since we don’t know exactly who he came in contact with.”
The ministry tweeted from its official handle that all necessary protocol regarding contact tracing and risk profiling is under way.
An employee of the ministry who had attended office on 15 April 2020 has tested positive for COVID19 on 21st April. All necessary protocols are being stringently followed on the Premises. All colleagues who came in contact are being asked to go into self isolation as a precaution
— MoCA_GoI (@MoCA_GoI) April 22, 2020
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Covid-19 still throws spanner in the works
The development comes three days after a staff member’s daughter at the Rashtrapati Bhawan tested positive, prompting a cluster of 125 residential houses in the estate to be sealed.
The government is working on a phased return of central government employees to ministries, and directed 100 per cent of employees above deputy secretary level and 33 per cent of junior staff to report to offices from 14 April.
However, the latest incidents have raised concerns among officials.
“Once you are in the office space, it is very hard to keep 100 per cent control … Frankly, there was no need to put the health of all employees in jeopardy by opening up so soon,” said an official from the health ministry, who did not wish to be named.
“What all can you sanitise and how many times? This case has caused some degree of alarm and panic, for sure,” the official added.
India’s current tally of active cases has crossed 15,000 and 640 deaths have been recorded, according to the Union health ministry data. On Monday, the ministry, in its daily briefings with the Indian Council of Medical Research, said 80 per cent of India’s Covid-19 cases were asymptomatic, i.e., individuals do not show any symptoms of the disease.
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