Aviation ministry HQ to be sealed after staffer tests Covid-19 positive
An employee in the civil aviation ministry has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), officials aware of the developments said on Wednesday, in the first confirmed case of the infection in a central government ministry.
The ministry headquarters at the Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan in New Delhi’s Jor Bagh will be sealed “as per the prescribed protocol,” Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri said. Officials who have had contact with the staffer will be tested.
“An employee of the ministry who had attended office on April 15 has tested positive for COVID19 on April 21. 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,” the ministry of civil aviation said in a statement.
“Government of Delhi is seized of the matter. They are taking appropriate steps as per the laid protocol for contact tracing and risk profiling,” it added.
The staffer who tested positive complained of throat pain a few days back and he got tested on Tuesday, a government official said.
The development came a day after a housekeeper in the Lok Sabha secretariat and the daughter-in-law of a Rashtrapati Bhavan sanitation worker tested positive for Covid-19.
A cluster of 125 residential houses in the Rashtrapati Bhavan estate was sealed while the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) turned a large number of residential houses near Kali Bari Marg, where the Parliament employee lived, into a containment zone.
The latter was not working in Parliament complex but in one of the establishments of the Lok Sabha secretariat at 36 GRG Road.
The government has directed a phased return to office of central government ministry officers. The new guidelines --- issued after the extension of the lockdown till May 3 --- call for 100% attendance from officers above the deputy secretary level with junior staff attendance of 33%.
Some junior staffers have expressed concerns over commuting to work under the lockdown.
“Social distancing is not maintained when you have to carpool with others. The entire point gets negated,” a government staffer said on the condition of anonymity.
Another employee, who too did not want to be named, said: “Commuting has been tough as there aren’t enough vehicles for junior staff. We are supposed to carpool with others...They have asked to try getting private cars for whoever can manage.”