The State Bank of India’s North East Head Office in Assam’s Guwahati was sealed indefinitely on Thursday after five more employees tested positive for novel coronavirus in the last two days, officials said.
With these new cases, the total number of COVID-19 positive people in the country’s largest public sector lender’s regional headquarters has gone up to 27, official sources told PTI.
Kamrup Metropolitan Deputy Commissioner Biswajit Pegu declared the complex as a “containment zone” and ordered it to be sealed with immediate effect “until further order” to prevent further spread of infection in the area.
“In view of the detection of more positive patients of COVID-19 in the SBI North East Head Office, which is located just opposite of the Assam Secretariat, the stringent step has been taken,” the order said.
“Any unauthorised entry and exit into the notified containment zone is barred till the area is declared safe as per the guidelines. Any movement of any unauthorised individual and vehicle within the notified area is also prohibited with immediate effect,” Mr Pegu said.
On July 6, SBI’s North East Head Office’s three floors and the entire Regional Business Office were sealed after at least 30 employees in the two buildings tested positive for coronavirus.
An official said 22 people at the SBI North East Head Office and eight at the Regional Business Office had tested positive for the disease.
With the fresh cases, the total number of COVID-19 positive cases among SBI employees, including contractual workers, has increased to around 90 across its branches and complexes in Guwahati.
An SBI spokesperson, who did not deny the number of COVID-19 positive cases, said the bank’s quick response team headed by a senior official is continuously monitoring the situation in Guwahati and the protocol is followed in case of any infection.
“The bank has tied up with a laboratory and proactively tested those employees who have been contact traced to those who tested positive, including the support staff and off-payroll staff in the city,” he said.
The spokesperson also said that as a precautionary measure, the SBI is already fumigating the premises every alternate day and the local staff is working at 30 per cent capacity to ensure that social distancing norms are followed.
“The bank has also deactivated biometrics, and installing Aarogya Setu mobile application has been mandated to all our employees. The bank is also working in close coordination with all the government departments to conform to the requisite protocols prescribed from time to time,” he added.