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 - Covaxin For Children Above 2 Years Will Be Available In By September, Says AIIMS Chief Randeep Guleria

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 - Kerala Extends Lockdown By 1 Week, Worship Places To Reopen With Entry of 15 People Only

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 - Mumbai Local Trains Will Not be Open Now, Confirms Maharashtra Govt; Passenger Associations Warn of Protest

“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.