The Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) on Monday laid down a bunch of directives for banks all across the country in order to safeguard the Indian financial system from the novel coronavirus threat.

Citing uncertainty over the extent of the virus' spread and its likely impact on the global economy, the RBI stated that the financial institutions require a coordinated strategy to handle emerging situations. The guidelines were issued just a few hours before the RBI's scheduled press conference.

Shaktikanta Das

The RBI wants banks to monitor mechanism concerning the spread of Covid-19 in their respective premises. "Financial institutions should making timely interventions for preventing further spread in case of detection of infected employees including travel plans and quarantine requirements as well as avoiding the spread of panic among staff and members of the public," it said in its directive.

"Banks should encourage their customers to make use of digital banking facilities," it added. The regulatory body also advised banks to take stock of critical processes and revisit their Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

"Supervised entities should assess the impact on their balance sheet, asset quality, liquidity, etc, arising out of potential scenarios such as the further spread of COVID-19 in India," the RBI said.

The RBI also suggested that a Quick Response Team can be constituted to provide regular updates to the top management and to act as a single point of contact with regulators or outside institutions.

Covid-19 cases on rise in India

The China-originated novel coronavirus, which is officially called SARS-CoV-2, is gradually spreading its wings all across the country. At present, there are over 110 patients of Covid-19 in the country, whereas two have lost their lives.

Bengaluru woman
Bengaluru woman tests positive for COVID-19, along with her husband

According to the Health Ministry, there are at least 90 Indian nationals and 17 foreigners who are infected with the fatal virus. A total of 31 persons have been confirmed for Covid-19 in Maharashtra. In Kerala and UP, there are 22 and 12 patients respectively.

At least 22 novel coronavirus cases have been reported from Kerala, whereas Haryana has 14 cases, so far. The Centre, along with the state governments, is proactively working towards curbing the spread of the fatal virus.