Bank Alfalah issues clarification on suspected COVID-19 cases

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KARACHI: Bank Alfalah issued a statement on Thursday, regarding the reported suspected COVID-19 cases at its branches. 

On Wednesday, local TV channel Samaa News reported that a private bank, which the channel did not name, had 23 ‘confirmed’ COVID-19 cases; while an internal Bank Alfalah email thread sent on the same day said there were 23 employees cases ‘suspected’ of having contracted 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.

In its statement, the bank said that an employee of the Shahdin Manzil branch reported possible flu-like symptoms, and was instructed to self isolate and seek medical assistance.

“The employee is awaiting his test results and we wish him good health and a speedy recovery,” the bank emphasized. 

The bank also said that the reduced staff present at the Shahdin Manzil branch has also been instructed to practise self isolation and get medical assistance. 

This is the protocol that is being followed at all locations across Pakistan. 

According to the bank, any employee that exhibits flu-like symptoms at any location is being asked to immediately return home and seek medical assistance. The remaining employees of these locations are also being requested to return home and go into self isolation. 

This is then followed by a through disinfection and deep cleaning exercise of the premises. Employees are being asked to proactively report to their line managers in case they exhibit any possible flu-like symptoms. 

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. 

Bank Alfalah, similarly, has implemented a policy to operate its locations with reduced staff, to minimize risk of exposure to employees or customers. Each location also has a contingency team prepared to take over and ensure continuity. 

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