The employees of the State Bank of India closed the branch at Mokia in Nabarangpur district of Odisha on Tuesday, claiming that all were infected with the novel coronavirus.

Collector Ajit Mishra viewed the matter seriously, as none has so far tested positive in the district. He reprimanded the bank employees and ordered them to open the branch.

On April 7, the manager closed the branch and put up a notice that the staff members had come in contact with a COVID-19 patient, so they had to quarantine themselves for 14 days. He did not inform the district administration of their decision. “The irony is that the staff members declared themselves infected, though their samples had never been taken for testing,” the Collector said.

The Collector called up the Superintendent of Police, the Chief District Medical Officer and the regional manager of the bank at Jeypore in Koraput district on Tuesday night and urged that action be taken to prevent the workers from adding to the panic in the district. The manager and the workers were ordered by the Collector to reopen the branch on Wednesday.

Mr. Mishra said that on April 4, a clerk of the Mokia branch gave a person a lift from Papadahandi to Nabarangpur on his bike. The clerk became nervous when he came to know that the person had returned from Delhi. He rushed to the Nabarangpur District Headquarters Hospital and told doctors that he had come in contact with an infected person. The doctors found him suffering from high blood pressure due to panic. He again visited the hospital the next day and told the doctors that he was infected and was feeling feverish. But the doctors administered him a few doses of paracetamol because he showed no COVID-19 symptoms.

On April 6, the clerk told the other workers of the branch that he had been infected with the virus and he might have spread it to others in the branch. The manager believed it without checking up the facts. He informed his higher-ups that he and his staff members were suspecting themselves to be infected. And on April 7, the manager and the other workers decided to close the branch and remain in quarantine.

News Source: The Hindu


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