24 million people infected with the virus in India
Indian banks have lost more than a thousand employees and many more are infected, according to an industry body, underscoring the heavy toll that the virus has taken in the Asian country battling the world’s worst coronavirus crisis.
“We have lost more than 1,000 colleagues already,” S. Nagarajan, General Secretary of the All India Bank Officers’ Association told Bloomberg News over phone on Saturday. “Bank employees are frontline workers and the virus is affecting them.”
With more than 24 million people infected in India and over 266,200 dead amid the world’s fastest-growing outbreak, the bulk of Indian States are in a lockdown with strict stay-at-home orders. But the banking sector is slotted as an essential service and partially exempt from the lockdown orders. Lenders are allowed in some cases to call as much as 50% of their workforce in bank branches to avoid any disruption in banking services.
C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association — the largest body of bank workers — told the moneycontrol.com website that 1,200 employees had died due to the virus. “Not all banks are forthcoming in sharing the details and compensation policies for the families of those who died due to this virus,” Venkatachalam said.
Venkatachalam was not immediately available to Bloomberg for comments.
The Press Trust of India on Friday reported that Debasish Panda, a senior federal government bureaucrat wrote to State authorities urging them to vaccinate bank and insurance employees against COVID on a priority basis.
India, which is facing a severe vaccine shortage, has administered more than 180 million COVID shots so far. At this rate, it will take a projected 2.5 years to cover 75% of the population with a two-dose vaccine, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker.