New Delhi: Several Union ministers had come in contact with Principal Director General of Press Information Bureau (PIB) Kuldeep Dhatwalia, who was admitted at AIIMS-Delhi Sunday after he tested positive for Covid-19.
According to sources in the government, Dhatwalia had come in contact with Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on 3 June, and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on 1 June.
Sources said all these ministers had attended press conferences where Dhatwalia was also present.
On 2 June, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health, Lav Agarwal also came in contact with Dhatwalia during a press conference.
However, there is no official word on whether any of the ministers or officers have gone into self-quarantine.
Agarwal’s office staff told ThePrint that he reported to work Monday.
The National Media Centre (NMC), where all PIB officials sit, has, however, been shut for sanitation and disinfection, and a massive contact-tracing exercise is expected to be carried out Tuesday.
“All the necessary precautions are being taken, all the senior officials and ministers are also taking due precaution,” said a PIB official, who did not want to be named.
“The government has been very forthcoming about revealing details of cases within the government, and will continue to do so.”
‘No way to check where govt staff is getting infected from’
The news of Dhatwalia testing positive comes at a time when several officials from across ministries have tested positive for Covid.
Last week, at least 11 officials of the Ministry of Labour and Employment tested Covid-positive.
“There is no way to check where government staff is getting infected from, but since the government made it mandatory for officers above deputy secretary level to attend office on all days, and ensure that 50 per cent of the lower staff reports to work, cases have been on the rise,” a central government officer said.
“We avoid physical meetings, but on any day, there are people coming to you for files or to check something or the other.”
Another officer pointed out that junior staffers sit in cramped air-conditioned rooms with limited ventilation. “First, they have to use public transport to report to work, and to top it, it is not possible for them to maintain social distancing,” he added.