NEW DELHI: Indian Defence secretary Ajay Kumar has tested positive for the novel Coronavirus, a development that has set off alarm bells in India’s top echelons of power.

According to two people familiar with the matter, defence minister Rajnath Singh, senior civilian and military officials did not come into office on Wednesday.

Kumar is a 1985 batch IAS officer.

Extensive tracing of all those people that Kumar may have come into contact with in the past days has been initiated, one of the people cited above said. Efforts to disinfect the office premises at South Block were underway, the person cited above said.

Besides the defence ministry, the sprawling South Block also houses the offices of India’s foreign ministry besides the prime minister’s office.

India has now climbed to the seventh spot in the global list of top 10 countries with the most COVID-19 cases. India has more than 200,000 infections and more than 5,000 deaths.