India’s Foreign Ministry asks some officials to quarantine after two positive for virus

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At least two people working at India’s Foreign Affairs Ministry have tested positive for COVID-19, and the government has asked several officials to self quarantine as a precaution, according to a source and internal e-mails seen by Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: A doctor wearing a protective suit seals a bag containing a swab sample vial, at a testing center during an extended nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India, April 28, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

One person who tested positive worked as a consultant in the ministry’s Central Europe division in New Delhi, while the other worked as a legal officer in the law division, the e-mails stated.

“As per protocol, all members of the CE Division have been asked to go for self quarantine for 14 days and work from home,” the ministry advised in an internal e-mail on May 27, which was reviewed by Reuters.

In a separate email on Friday, all officials who came into direct contact with the legal officer, who tested positive for the new coronavirus, were also asked to self-quarantine.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

It was not immediately clear how many officials have been asked to self quarantine.

The ministry is involved in many of India’s critical coronavirus relief efforts, especially those relating to the evacuation of Indian citizens stranded overseas.

It has ordered sanitisation of rooms occupied by the Central Europe and legal division and those nearby, the source with knowledge of the matter said.

Last month, about 500 people entered self-isolation in staff quarters of India’s presidential palace after a family member of a sanitation worker living in employee quarters tested positive.

The number of COVID-19 cases are steadily rising in India. Government data on Friday showed nearly 166,000 have now tested positive for the virus, of which 4,706 have died.

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