The spread of COVID-19 among paramilitary forces is fast becoming a cause for concern, with the total cases among personnel in Delhi alone touching 200.
After CRPF and BSF, a high number of cases have been detected in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). While 21 ITBP personnel have tested positive in Delhi, 13 tested positive at SSB’s Ghitorni camp.
On Monday, two more CRPF personnel tested positive, taking the total cases at the force’s Mayur Vihar camp to 137.
One BSF personnel, posted at its CGO Complex headquarters and attached to the office of an Additional DG, tested positive late on Sunday night, taking the total number of cases in the force to 54. Fourteen of these cases in the BSF have been reported from Tripura.
Sources said a majority of the infections in the ITBP have been reported from its Tigri camp in South Delhi, where 19 have tested positive. The infection is suspected to have spread from the in-house grocery store. “People at the store were among the first to test positive. They appear to have contracted the virus from vegetable suppliers. They are the only outsiders who come to the camp,” said an ITBP officer, adding that over 50 people from the camp have been quarantined.
Two more tested positive from Battalion 50, which had been put on law and order duties at Shastri Park. An entire company of around 100 personnel has been quarantined.
At the BSF, the headquarters has been sealed and sanitised. The CRPF headquarters at the CGO complex is out of bounds and was sanitised on Monday. They will remain shut Tuesday.
Sources said the BSF ADG, in whose office a constable tested positive, has been asked to go for testing and will likely be quarantined. Tracing of their contacts is on, sources said. “Identification of secondary and tertiary contacts as per protocol is being carried out,” said BSF spokesperson Shubhendu Bharadwaj.
All 13 personnel of the SSB, which guards the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan border, belong to 25th battalion which has its camp at Ghitorni. It is not clear how the infection reached the camp.
Of the 56 BSF personnel who have tested positive so far, 32 are suspected to have gotten the infection while discharging law and order duties with Delhi Police in Jama Masjid and Chandni Mahal areas.
“A BSF head constable, working in the BSF Force Headquarters, Block 10 CGO complex, was found COVID-19 positive late on the night of May 3. He last attended office on May 1. He was working in an office on the second floor of the BSF headquarters. All persons who came in contact with him have been identified and quarantined. They will also be tested for COVID -19. Offices on the first and second floors of the FHQ have been closed as a precaution, ” a statement from the BSF said.
As reported by the Indian Express earlier, the infection at CRPF’s Mayur Vihar camp spread due to reduction in mandated quarantine period of 14 days by the force.
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