Virus: SC issues additional precautionary measures within days of many staffers testing positive

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New Delhi, Apr 14 (PTI) Within days of many of its staffers testing positive for COVID-19, the Supreme Court has come out with additional precautionary measures for the entrants to its premises to contain the rapid spread of infection.

The top court's administration has issued additional guidelines in light of the growing concern amid sudden upsurge of COVID-19 cases.

Under the new set of guidelines, all the entrants to the Supreme Court premises, including the Registry staff, staff of the coordinate agencies, advocates and their staff, if showing any symptoms similar to those notified for COVID-19 infection shall be subjected to Rapid/RT-PCR test.

The guidelines issued by the general administration section said, all controlling officers shall ensure that the staff in their control wears masks, maintains physical distancing and frequently sanitizes/ washes hands and follows the prescribed COVID appropriate behaviour.

“Persons with notified symptoms like fever, cough, body-ache, loss of taste and smell, diarrhea etc. shall restrict themselves from coming to office/premises, isolate themselves immediately and seek medical advice,” the guidelines said.

It said that there shall not be any crowding or loitering in the campus and movement in common areas should be only for specific purposes and be completed within the minimum time.

The guidelines issued on Tuesday but uploaded on its website on Wednesday further said that the lift should not be used by more than three persons at a time and shall be used only for going upwards and for coming downstairs, stairs should be used.

It said that these guidelines will be in addition to the existing protocol, circulars and steps taken from time to time to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection within the Supreme Court premises.

On Monday and Tuesday, Supreme Court judges held their courts from their residences after around 44 staffers tested positive for coronavirus. There are around 3,000 staffers working in the apex court. While some judges had been coming to the apex court premises to hold court, few others have been presiding over proceedings from their residences till now.

The top court has also suspended physical mentioning of cases for urgent hearing by advocates from Monday till further orders.

On Tuesday, the top court's Registry allowed officials to work from home if they were not required to attend office on a given day and authorised registrars to regulate attendance.

It also said that if any employee or any member of his family is tested positive to the viral infection or has symptoms such as cough, cold and fever for more than three days, then such he will have to intimate the concerned department for the purpose of contact tracing. The non-observance of the instructions may entail administrative action under the Conduct Rules, the apex court registry said in its order. PTI MNL SA