23 Bank Alfalah employees suspected of COVID-19; Lahore branch shut

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At least 23 employees of Bank Alfalah are suspected of COVID-19, according to a media report, and an internal email.

On Wednesday, local TV channel Samaa News reported that a private bank, which the channel did not name, had 23 ‘confirmed’ COVID-19 cases.

However, in an internal email thread sent on Wednesday, Bank Alfalah said there were 23 cases that have been ‘suspected’ of COVID-19. 

Of those 23 suspected cases, 17 cases were at the Shahdin Manzil branch in Lahore, one of the main branches of the bank in Punjab.

A further five suspected cases were in the Karachi branches, with one at M.A. Jinnah Road, one at F.B. Area, and three at Malir City. 

One suspected case was reported in Quetta, at the IBG Quetta branch. 

The Shahdin Manzil branch was closed on Wednesday, and is expected to stay closed for a few days. 

The email said that the staff at the Lahore branch have been advised to quarantine themselves, and get tested. The Malir City branch has been advised to do the same. 

It is unclear what criteria the bank used to determine if an employee is a ‘suspected’ case. Due to COVID-19, many banks have been checking the temperature of their employees before they enter office premises. 

The State Bank of Pakistan has allowed banks to remain open across Pakistan, amidst the lockdowns imposed in Sindh, and the partial shutdown imposed in Punjab. 

Most branches are operating with critical staff only. The SBP has encouraged digital payments and online banking in the last week, in an attempt to get less people to visit bank branches. 

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