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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Covid-19: NITI officer tests positive, HQ sealed

Sources say sealing of the building may affect the functioning of two empowered groups of officers who have been given the task of formulating the response against the pandemic.

Published: April 29, 2020 6:22:57 am
A health worker sanitises the NITI Aayog premises in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The government’s top think tank NITI Aayog on Tuesday sealed its headquarters Niti Bhawan after one of its officials tested positive for COVID-19.

In a communication to employees, NITI Aayog deputy secretary (administration) Ajit Kumar said, “One officer in NITI building has tested Covid+. The matter was reported around 9 this morning. It was discussed with competent authority. The necessary protocol have been checked by Adviser (Admn).”

In the communication, Kumar mentioned five-point “instructions” for employees of NITI Aayog. “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,” said Kumar.

“All the employees who had reached the office were asked to go home and those who were on their way were informed about the closing of the building,” said a source.

Later in the day, NITI Aayog officially announced that one of its employees has tested 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 sanitization of the building are underway. Contacts of the single covid positive person have been asked to go on self-quarantine,” it said.

NITI Aayog, which is headed by the Prime Minister, is headquartered at Parliament Street in New Delhi.

Sources say sealing of the building may affect the functioning of two empowered groups of officers who have been given the task of formulating the response against the pandemic.

Out of these two groups, one is ‘coordinating with private sector, NGOs and international organisations’ and is headed by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

It has held more than a dozen meetings since it was constituted on March 29, 2020. The other group is on ‘Medical Emergency Management Plan’ and is chaired by NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul.

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