Health director, top officials test Covid positive in Telangana

Secretariat employees jittery as over 15 staff members test positive for Covid-19 in the past two days

HYDERABAD: Director of public health and family welfare Dr G. Srinivasa Rao, education secretary Sandeep Kumar Sultania and other officials in the Secretariat were tested positive for Covid-19. In a statement issued here on Tuesday, Dr Rao, who has been the face of the state government in its fight against Covid-19, said, “Due to mild symptoms, I got myself tested in a laboratory. The results confirmed that it was Covid-19. I am getting hospitalised and isolating myself for necessary symptomatic treatment.”

Saying there was no need to be anxious or to worry about his health, Dr Rao said, “I request the people of Telangana to take good care in the fight against Covid-19 by strictly following Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.”

Meanwhile, as many as 15 employees working in various departments of the Secretariat located in BRKR Bhavan were tested positive for Covid in the last two days. With this, employees and officials working in the Secretariat are jittery over-reporting to work.

Four employees each in medical and revenue departments were also tested positive. Employees said R&B secretary K.S. Sreenivasa Raju and health secretary Syed Ali Murtuza Rizvi were also tested positive but there was no official confirmation in this regard.

Employees requested the state government to implement 50 per cent attendance in the Secretariat on alternate days to check the spread of the virus. Major departments such as general administration, finance, law, minorities welfare, IT etc function from this building having a built-up area of just 1.6 lakh sq. ft.

Employees say that the scope for maintaining physical distancing is little given the limited space available in the building. In addition to existing staff, visitors thronging the Secretariat to meet officials on various works is also huge. Employees want restrictions on visitors until Covid situation improves.

Three employees working in the GAD principal secretary's office were tested positive over the past two days. With this, GAD principal secretary Vikas Raj went into home isolation.

The fear of transmission of virus in BRKR Bhavan impacted the attendance of employees on Tuesday. While some employees opted for leave, a few others sought permission to work from home.

Chief secretary Somesh Kumar reviewed Covid situation in BRKR Bhavan. He instructed staff to strictly follow Covid protocols like wearing of masks and avoid gatherings during lunch and tea breaks. Instructions were issued to sanitise building premises frequently

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