With coronavirus cases in the department increases, the Mumbai Police has written to Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal seeking dedicated ambulances for its personnel in each of the city’s 13 zones. So far, 656 policemen have tested positive for the virus of whom eight have succumbed to the disease.
The letter, signed by Joint Commissioner of Police (administration) Nawal Bajaj, was sent Monday after the Covid-19 helpline number, set up by the Mumbai Police for ailing personnel, received numerous requests for ambulances, officials said.
A police officer said the Covid-19 helpline receives about 50 calls every day, of which almost 15-20 calls are from a policeman with symptoms of the infection. At least 20 calls are for an ambulance, the officer said. When contacted, Bajaj confirmed that the letter has been sent to the civic commissioner.
The department has two dedicated ambulances, but with coronavirus cases steadily increasing, police officials say these were proving woefully inadequate. “We are not able to serve our policemen with just two ambulances. Today we had 43 cases. If one ambulance goes to attend a patient, it takes more than three hours to pick and drop him at a hospital during which the other patients and their family members are at high risk,” said an officer.
These two ambulances are usually placed in Marol and Naigaon. The ambulance in Marol looks after patients in the west and north regions, while the one at Naigaon looks after the policemen in central and south areas.
The city has been facing a huge shortage of ambulances amid the pandemic, which has further increased response time in attending to Covid-19 and other patients. Currently, the Maharashtra Emergency Ambulance Service (MEMS) that runs 108 toll-free helpline, has allocated 66 ambulances for Covid-19 patients and 30 ambulances for other patients in the city.
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