All central government employees have been asked to attend office on working days, according to a Personnel Ministry order. The decision comes amid a significant decline in the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country, including in national capital Delhi. However, all officers and staff residing in containment zones shall be exempted from coming to office till their containment zone is de-notified, the statement said.
Until now, officers of the level of Under Secretary and above were only attending office due to the coronavirus-induced restrictions imposed in March. The Centre had in May asked 50 per cent of its employees below the level of Deputy Secretary to work from their offices, while implementing different time slots in its effort to further check the spread of the coronavirus.
The officers/staff shall follow staggered timings to avoid over-crowding in offices/workplaces as decided by the heads of department, it said. "The government servants at all levels are to attend office on all working days without any exemption to any category of employees," said the order issued late Saturday to all the central government departments.
Biometric attendance shall continue to be suspended until further orders, it said. The officers and staff who are residing in the containment zone shall work from home and shall be available on telephone and electronic means of communications at all times, it said.
Meetings, as far as possible, may continue to be conducted with video-conferencing and personal meetings with visitors, unless absolutely necessary in public interest, are to be avoided, the order said. The Personnel Ministry, in another order, said that "all departmental canteens may be opened".
According to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday, the COVID-19 active caseload remains below 1.5 lakh. In Delhi, the active case tally on Saturday dropped to 1,041 from 1,053 the previous day.