At least two employees of MEA test positive for coronavirus

New Delhi: At least two employees serving at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs here have tested positive for the novel coronavirus following which all the staffers who came in contact with them were asked to go for self-quarantine for 14 days, people familiar with the development said on Saturday.

An officer working at the legal wing of the ministry and a consultant with the Central Europe Division tested positive for the infection earlier this week, they said.

Official sources said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been proactive in handling any COVID-19 positive cases among its employees or consultants in accordance with the health protocol laid down by the government.

It is learnt that an elaborate sanitisation exercise was carried out in the legal and the Central Europe (CE) divisions.

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Almost all employees in the CE division as well as a sizable number of staffers in the legal wing are undergoing self-quarantine at present.

Following the two positive cases, the MEA sent two internal communications to all its employees apprising them about the infection and asked them to follow all laid down protocols and precautionary measure, according to people cited above.

The MEA has been at the forefront of the government’s Vande Bharat mission under which close to 50,000 stranded Indians have already been evacuated from various parts of the world. The MEA is coordinating efforts to bring back another lot of 1,00,000 Indians by June 13.

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In view of the massive exercise, a large number of employees in the MEA headquarters have been working for long hours and they have been advised to follow all precautionary measures after detection of the two positive cases.

The MEA’s coronavirus control room is working round the clock since March 16. The control room has received more than 22,500 calls and 60,000 e-mails till May 28.

Several employees working in various ministries having offices around Raisina Hills at the heart of the national capital tested positive for the coronavirus in the last few weeks.

According to official data, India has recorded 1,73,763 cases of COVID-19 and 4,971 people died of the infection till Saturday morning.

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