The Government’s top think tank, NITI Aayog, on Tuesday sealed its headquarters — Niti Bhawan — after one of its official tested COVID-19 positive.
In a communication to staff, NITI Aayog deputy secretary (administration) Ajit Kumar said, “One officer in NITI building has tested Covid positive. The matter was reported around 9 this morning. It was discussed with competent authority. The necessary protocol have been checked by Adviser(Admn).”
Kumar also shared a five-point “instruction” with staff members.
“Building is being sealed for two days for a thorough disinfection and sanitisation. Normal working resumes after two days. We are trying to trace his direct contacts who are to go in for self-quarantine,” he said.
“All the employees who reached office were asked to go home, while those who were on their way to office were informed about the closing of building,” said sources.
Later in the day, NITI Aayog officially announced the news of one of its staff being tested COVID-19 positive.
“An employee working at NITI Bhavan has been detected positive with COVID-19. It was informed to the authorities at 9 am this morning. NITI Aayog is following all the due protocols necessary as per the Ministry of Health guidelines. The building has been sealed,” tweeted NITI Aayog.
“Disinfection and sanitisation of the building are underway. Contacts of the single Covid-19 positive person have been asked to go on self-quarantine,” it said.
NITI Aayog, which is headed by the Prime Minister of India, is headquartered at the Parliament street in New Delhi.
Sources say that sealing of NITI Aayog building may affect the working of two empowered groups of officers who have been tasked with formulating the response against coronavirus.
An empowered group on ‘coordinating with private sector, NGOs and international organizations’, headed by the NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, and another group on ‘Medical Emergence Management Plan’ which is chaired by NITI Aayogs member Dr VK Paul have been working from the building:
NITI Aayog was established as a ‘think tank’ in January 2015 after the government scrapped the erstwhile Planning Commission.