The Southern Railway (SR) is choking in the grip of novel coronavirus. The zone has recorded its third casualty in less than 10 days. A driver of an ADRM, who had tested positive last week, succumbed to COVID-19 at the railway hospital in Perambur in the wee hours of Tuesday.
The headquarters of the zone and the division were closed for a couple of days from late last Wednesday after the ADRM and a coaching officer in the principal chief operations manager’s office contracted the virus.
Though railway authorities had announced the closure for two days to disinfect the premises and assured to reopen on Monday, a few offices like the public relations department were kept shut owing to reporting of fresh cases. Sources in the zonal headquarters confirmed that a top-level officer in the PR department functioning on the ground floor of the zonal headquarters had tested positive a few days ago. The public relation office has remained shut since.
Surprisingly, subordinates of the coronavirus positive officer, who is learnt to be on home quarantine, have tested negative in the tests conducted a few days ago. An employee who had reported to duty at the headquarters from Monday said; “Employees are unwilling to report to duty. Even on Tuesday, fewer staff had turned up. Death of the driver has triggered panic. Indeed, he was in contact with the ADRM, but we were told that he had no co-morbidities. Where ever we go on HQ campus, employees are only talking about the driver’s death. People are scared.”
If sources in railway department are to be believed, even a family member of the deceased driver had tested positive for COVID-19.