As many as 44 policemen across Gujarat have tested positive for coronavirus as of Tuesday, while being deployed on duty as front-line warriors to contain the spread of the viral infection, even as the police force faces a challenge of availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits to serve in the curfew hotspot areas of three cities — Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot.
According to Gujarat Director General of Police Shivanand Jha, a total of 44 police officers and personnel have been infected with COVID-19 in Ahmedabad, Vadodara (rural), Valsad and Western Railway.
“Till now (Tuesday), 34 police personnel with Ahmedabad Police, three with State Reserve Police (SRP), two Home Guard jawans, one jawan of Traffic Road Brigade (TRB), one policeman in Vadodara (rural), two policemen with Western Railway in Vadodara and one jawan with Gram Rakshak Dal (GRD) in Valsad, have tested positive for COVID-19. Of these, two have cough and cold, while the rest are asymptomatic,” said Jha.
According to senior officials of Ahmedabad Police, a curfew was imposed in seven police station areas of the walled city to curb the spread of COVID-19. A total of 2,158 police, SRP, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border security force (BSF), Home Guard and Civil Defence personnel have been deployed in these areas since April 14.
Since the first case of COVID 19 was detected among police personnel in Ahmedabad, they are being provided PPE suits. However, challenges lies ahead for the police force when it comes to the supply.
According to Shamsher Singh, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Gujarat CID Crime, as many as 200 PPE kits are being given to each police station under the curfew area on a daily basis, as these are disposable.
“The responsibility of PPE suits has been given to deputy commissioners of police, as per their zones, and they are purchasing it from vendors as per the need. Everyday, we procure at least 200 suits per police station, but as they have the lifespan of only a day, we have sought help on social media to connect with more vendors. Providing PPE suits to the police gives confidence to the public, too, as they get to know that the front-line warriors are well-equipped to fight the pandemic. We have seen positive effects of the PPE suits…today, women in Jamalpur area were seen maintaining social distance unlike the past two days,” said Singh.
“It is not only the personnel who are on field, but all senior officers of Gujarat Police who are making constant trips to curfew areas in order to encourage the former. We have ensured that all police personnel get food at their police stations. The crime branch has been given the task of taking care of those who are under quarantine,” added Singh.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Special Commissioner with Ahmedabad Police, Ajay Tomar said, “A total of 38 police personnel in Ahmedabad have been infected and they are being taken care of at isolation wards in Civil hospital and SVP hospital. We are all ears for any grievances faced by them and recently conducted a counselling session for a cop who had been feeling low after getting infected. We are also in touch with the families of the police. For the police persons who are on duty, we have started a cafeteria on wheels, where they are given jaljeera, lemonade, buttermilk and sprouts to eat. Each person is also given a tablet of Vitamin C everyday,” said Tomar.
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