Fresh Covid cases in South Block, Army HQ to function with 33% staff

Published: Jun 6, 2020, 4:58 pm IST

New Delhi:  As increasing number of Covid positive cases has surfaced at Ministry of Defence office at South Block on the Raisina Hill, the Indian Army headquarters, stationed over there, has decided to function with bare minimum staff of around 33 per cent, sources said on Saturday.

It was also decided that no visitor would be allowed as of now. “Staggering of office hours, lunch hours/coffee breaks to be done, as far as feasible,” source said.

Earlier this week, India’s top Defence officer, who had been at the forefront in battling the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in India, was tested Coronavirus positive. This also led to sealing of a portion of South Block for necessary sanitisation. Also around 30 people came in close contact with the defence officer over the last couple of days and they have been sent to home quarantine.

Seeing this, top Indian Army officer has directed that the old protocols of lockdown would be followed strictly and without delay.

Indian Army directed to reduce attendance in offices, excluding personnel engaged in essential and emergency services directly involved in taking measures to control the spread of COVID-19.

The force had reduced 33 per cent staff at headquarters and new guidelines for their personnel pertaining to social distancing has been issued.

“It shall be ensured that personnel are available on telephone and electronic means at all times for exigencies of work,” the guideline stated.

In order to avoid crowding at entry and exit points, personnel attending office to adhere to staggered timings — 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and 9.45 a.m. to 6.15 p.m.

On June 1, the central government announced that the lockdown will be lifted across the country in three different phases. It allowed offices to function but with riders.

Further, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare issued a standard operating procedure on preventive measures to contain the spread of virus in offices on June 4 and Department of Personnel and Training has directed all the government offices to strictly adhere to it. The health ministry issued 26-point detailed guidelines and offices have been asked to properly follow it.