New Delhi: In an attempt to combat the rising cases of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the country, the central government has on Thursday directed its employees to work from home in staggered manner, that is, while half of them will come to office at a scheduled time, the remaining employees will log in from their homes. Also Read - German State Finance Minister Commits Suicide Amid Fears of Financial Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic

The routine has been mandated till April 4. It has been designed to minimise the usage of public transport, especially during rush hours. Also Read - Coronavirus: Total Positive Cases Climb to 1024, Death Toll Reaches 27, State Borders Sealed | Top Points

According to the notification issued by the Centre, the employees have been divided into three groups – Group A, B, and C – who will be working at staggered hours under three time slots – 9 AM to 5.30 PM, 9.30 AM to 6 PM and 10 AM to 6.30 PM. Also Read - IPL 2020 Set to be Cancelled Due to Coronavirus Pandemic: Report

“All HoDs are advised to draft a weekly roster of duty for Group B and C staff and ask them to attend office on alternate weeks. While deciding the roster for the first week, HoDs are advised to include officials who are residing in close proximity to their office or use their own transport to travel to the offices,” the notification by the Personal Ministry read.

The notification, however, does not apply to offices that are engaged in emergency services and/or services essential to fight the COVID19 outbreak.

Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on measures to tackle the ongoing situation in view of the contagious infection. Currently, the confirmed, cases of COVID-19 in India stands at 167, with four deaths reported from Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab, and Maharashtra.