In light of the Covid emergency in India, which has overwhelmed hospitals and caused a serious shortage of resources such as oxygen, the central government relaxed attendance guidelines for its employees on Thursday. Persons with disabilities and pregnant women workers are exempted from going to work, according to a new circular, but "they shall have to work from home."

According to the revised regulations, all secretaries of ministries/departments are required to control employee attendance at all levels, taking into account Covid positive cases in the office as well as functional requirements.

To prevent overcrowding at their workplaces, all central government departments will maintain staggered working hours and 50% attendance of Under Secretary and lower level employees until the end of this month. The rules will be in effect until the end of the month, on May 31.

Officials in the containment zones are allowed to work from home "till the containment zone is denotified". "These officers and the staff residing in the containment zones shall work from home and shall be available on telephone and electronic means of communication, at all times," the order states.

All officials who come to work must adhere to Covid-19 guidelines, which include wearing a mask, keeping a safe distance, using sanitizer, and washing their hands often with soap and water. The order said. "Crowding in lifts, staircases, corridors, common areas, including refreshment kiosks and parking areas, is to be strictly avoided," the order said.

"Biometric attendance shall continue to be suspended untill further orders," the order said.