As many as 57 out of 428 trainee civil service officers have tested Covid positive at the Lal Bahadur Shashtri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) at Mussoorie in the last 24 hours, prompting authorities to close “all non-essential departments” there.
The co-curricular activities have been suspended till further order. Officers found infected have been quarantined and 162 people have been examined while the remaining staff were also investigated. Sanjeev Chopra, director of LBSNAA, said, “A total of 33 OTs (Officer Trainees) tested Covid-19 positive on Friday.”
However, the Ministry of Personnel Public Grievances & Pensions said that 57 officer trainees have tested COVID positive at LBSNAA since November 20, 2020.
Chopra said that the hostels, mess, administrative office, and the library have been sanitized. "All non-essential departments have been closed, complete sanitisation for the entire campus has been undertaken," said Chopra adding that the academy, the Dehradun District Administration and Health Department of Uttrarkhand are working together to address the challenge.
There are currently 428 trainee officers of the 95th Foundation Course of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Forest Service (IFS), and Indian Revenue Service (IRS) at the academy campus that started on October 13.
Later in a statement, the personnel ministry said that all officer trainees, who have tested positive, have been quarantined in a dedicated COVID care Centre. "The academy has conducted more than 162 RT-PCR tests in coordination with district authorities since Friday, the statement said. The academy is taking every measure to break the chain of COVID-19 spread in consonance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the District Administration, Dehradun, the ministry said.
"The academy has decided to conduct all activities, including training, online till the midnight of December 3, 2020. The protocols relating to social distancing, frequent hand wash and wearing of mask are being strictly followed by the officer trainees and staff members," it said.
The academy had announced special measures to deal with Covid-19 including keeping medical kits, masks, and sanitizers in each room, allocation of time slots and venues for dining, separate time slot allotment for use of the library among many other measures to tackle Covid-19 spread. Food and other necessities are being delivered to the officer trainees in their hostels by staff who are equipped adequately in protective gear, it added.
LBSNAA is a research and training institute on public policy and public administration in India. The academy's main purpose is to train civil service officers of the IAS and also for Group-A Central Services. After completion of training, the trainee officers are awarded an MA degree in Public Management from Jawaharlal Nehru University.