More COVID-19 positive cases in SAIL, here is what you should learn

  • SAIL corporate office will remain sealed in the wake of more COVID-19 positive cases, until further notice

  • More SAIL employees are being tested to get to the final number of positive cases

New Delhi: Everything goes fine and seems safe and secure until something untoward happens. SAIL was running its usual course of business until Monday when the first positive case of COVID-19 came to light. It was one of the company's top directors who was found to be COVID-19 positive. One who was at the helm of affairs at almost every business meeting that takes place on the decision-making floor in SAIL's corporate office situated at Lodi Road, New Delhi. As a result, the number of cases have gone well beyond the count of five that the company reported officially on June 3. Top sources told PSU Watch that the rising number of cases have sent a shock wave in the corridors of the SAIL office.

The spread

It all started with the May 23 meeting which SAIL Chairman AK Chaudhary attended with the board of directors along with Minister of Steel Dharmendra Pradhan. Director (Raw Material) was unwell then and was present at the meeting. On normal days when one feels under the weather and still shows up for work, one would call them diligent. But the COVID-19 world has changed that perception. Incidentally, the Director (Raw Materials) was infected with Coronavirus and the infection quickly spread to other board of directors, including the SAIL chairman and few other top officials who came in close contact with the affected ones.

The negligence

Sources close to the Chairman's office tell us that precautions were indeed not followed by the officials. They chose to come to office physically in spite of the central government's guidelines for carrying out every possible business meeting or transaction using a virtual medium. Instead of doing meetings through video conferencing (which they are doing now), they kept on insisting on physical presence. Some of them did not even take basic precautions of wearing a mask.

These employees, most of them filled with some sense of shock and anger both, are now scared for their families as well. Most of them have got tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for the results. There will be more cases, sources suspect. Meanwhile, a massive drive of sanitisation is going on in every nook and corner of the SAIL office which happens to be a tad bit small to accommodate all its employees while following social distancing.

Is India rushing to Unlock 1.0?

The episode of infection at SAIL and how it spread has this message at its core: the risk of infection is very real. As India moves towards Unlock 1.0, it is imperative to ask if the government is rushing to open the economy and in the process, exposing people to a health crisis of an unprecedented scale? Is the health infrastructure equipped enough to deal with a crisis of this scale in the absence of a vaccine? Also, the post-COVID world can never be like the one people have been used to inhabiting earlier. The simplest of precautions like wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and staying at home at the slightest hint of sickness can go a long way in preventing the next infection.