April 22, 2021 1:16:50 am
Covid-19 outbreak in Maharashtra has taken a toll on the state’s police department with at least one member of the force succumbing to the infectious disease everyday in the last two weeks, according to official data.
In the last 16 days, the department has reported 25 deaths among its personnel, taking the total Covid-related death toll within its ranks to 389 as on Wednesday.
Out of the 25 recent deaths, four are from Osmanabad, three each from Parbhani and Mumbai, two from Nashik city, one each from Navi Mumbai, Pune city, Nagpur city, Nandurbar district, Beed district, Nanded district, Dhule district, Latur district, Pune Railway police, and Maharashtra cyber cell.
Three deaths were reported from State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), with one fatality each in GR (group) 3 (Jalna), GR6 (Dhule) and GR 12F (Hingoli).
When asked about measures being undertaken to safeguard its personnel, a senior police officer from Maharashtra Police Headquarters, requesting anonymity, said, “Immunisation is our top priority. We are also making efforts for early detection of the infection through our officers in the welfare section. In addition, we are supplying them with masks and sanitisers. All commissioners and district superintendents have been instructed to take adequate measures to protect their men and ask them to follow safety measures while implementing the lockdown and performing other policing duties.”
On April 14, ahead of the lockdown, director general of police (DGP) Sanjay Pande said that the department has advised all personnel above the age of 50 or those with co-morbidities to stay at home.
“Also, 80 per cent of state police has received the first dose of vaccination and 40 per cent has received both doses,” he had told The Indian Express last week.
On Wednesday, though, he did not respond to calls or messages.
Till April 6, Maharashtra police had recorded 364 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in March last year. The figure shot up to 389 by April 21. Mumbai Police has been the hardest hit by the fatalities in the state with as many as 103 of its personnel succumbing to the illness.
Neigbouring Thane reported 34 deaths followed by Nagpur city (21), Pune city (13), Navi Mumbai (12), Nashik rural (10) and Nashik city (11).
Since March last year, as many as 38,755 police personnel, including 4,791 of officer rank, have got infected by the coronavirus. Out of these, 34,587 (89.24%) have recovered, while 3,769 (9.7%) are presently infected by the disease. With 389 deaths, the fatality rate among police personnel stood at 1%, which included personnel who got infected while they were on leave.
The number of active cases in Mumbai Police shot up to 656 cases on April 21 from 406 cases on April 6.
Elaborating on further measures being undertaken, Chaitanya S, DCP (Operations) and the public relations officer for Mumbai Police, said, “The dedicated covid care centre for police personnel has been restarted. Covid testing centres are opened at six places. We are giving out new face masks and sanitizers. Instructions have been given to the personnel to avoid group activities. We also have a dedicated helpline number for our men.”
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