The Chandigarh police Tuesday recorded its first COVID-19 positive case as a woman constable, who had been deputed at Grain Market in Sector 26 for the last one month, tested positive, triggering alarm bells within the police circle, especially those on frontline duty.
The 25-year-old woman constable, who had joined the UT police in March 2019, was admitted to GMSH in Sector 16.
At least 11 other women police, including eight who were sharing a common barrack with her at Police Lines-26, were quarantined.
On Monday, the vegetable and fruit market was shifted from Grain Market-26 to ISBT-17 in view of the COVID-19 cases in Bapu Dham Colony (BDC) in Sector 26. Grain Market-26 is situated close to BDC-26, a hotspot and containment area.
About 75 per cent of city’s COVID-19 cases have been reported from the BDC-26. The Grain Market was being sanitised once a week for last one and half months. Commissioner KK Yadav said, all vendors coming to the market are screened at the entry gate.
A senior officer, deputed for tracing patients’ contacts, said, “So far, we are unable to ascertain the exact source from where the woman constable contracted the virus. As she was deputed at Grain Market-26, a congested and sensitive place, we assumed she caught the infection from there. She had developed the symptoms of fever on Sunday. She went to Police Hospital in Sector 26 at first and then was taken to GMSH-16 in an ambulance. Her samples were collected for the COVID-19 test and on Tuesday, she was tested positive. She is the first Chandigarh police personnel to test positive. It is an alarm call for the police deputed in frontline duties including containment area, distribution of ration in or outside the containment areas.”
The grain market in Sector 26 is situated adjoining the Police Lines-26 and Bapu Dham Colony-26. Sources said that the woman constable had shuttled between police lines-26 and the Grain Market a few times.
SP Manoj Kumar Meena said, “We have decided to distribute Vitamin C tablets among all police personnel with the guidelines on when and how to take the tablets. We will receive the supply on Wednesday. As the woman police was tested positive, we identified 11 women personnel who had come in contact with her, their samples have been sent for testing. The Police Lines-26 premises, including barracks and the common mess, where the woman constable used to have food, has been being sanitised. Facemasks and hand sanitisers, among others, are being regularly distributed among the police.”
The Chandigarh police has a strength of around 6,400 personnel and 85 per cent of them have been deputed for COVID-19 duties.