EVEN AS more police personnel from Maharashtra test positive for coronavirus disease (Covid-19), state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday said experts were being consulted to formulate a response to the rising number of positive cases and deaths in the force.
With the addition of 118 cases in the last 24 hours, the total number of positive cases in Maharashtra Police force has reached 4,861, as per data shared by the state police headquarters on Tuesday.Follow Maharashtra coronavirus LIVE UPDATES
Of these, 3,699 cops have recovered and 59 have succumbed to the infection. As many as 2,779 personnel are from Mumbai Police. Of them, 2,127 have recovered and 38 have died. Out of the total recovered personnel in Mumbai Police, 1,300 have reported back to work. Close to 6,000 police personnel across the state are either in home or institutional quarantine as of Tuesday.
State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh told The Indian Express, “On almost every front in the battle against Covid-19, the police force is playing a key role, be it guarding boundaries of districts or containment zones, or deployment at high-risk isolation wards, quarantine facilities and hospitals.
Now, there is additional responsibility of managing large number of migrant workers returning to the state. This is in addition to all the routine police work.”
Asked about rising number of cases in the police force and if further measures were being taken in addition to existing ones, Deshmukh said, “We are consulting experts on the subject and their inputs will soon be brought into action. The strategy to tackle the infection among cops is being revised. We are considering different ways to bring changes in the daily functioning of the police force to ensure the risk is minimised.”
On the situation in Mumbai Police, Deshmukh said, “Our senior officers are closely monitoring the situation. There are dedicated Covid care centres, hospitals, etc. Additional SRPF personnel and home guards have been deployed in Mumbai. We had requested additional companies of CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) recently. While the current situation does not call for such measures again, if needed, we will seek further assistance from the Centre.”
Deshmukh had recently announced that families of police personnel, who die of Covid-19, will be able to live at their officially-allotted residence till the designated time of retirement of the deceased cop.
From the beginning, a major chunk of the caseload has been from local police personnel in Mumbai, its surrounding areas, and SRPF personnel deployed in high-risk areas, later repatriated to home units. Other than Mumbai Police and SRPF, a significant number of cases have been found among personnel in Malegaon, Thane city, Pune city, Navi Mumbai, Solapur and Mumbai Railway jurisdiction. As a precautionary measure, around 23,000 police personnel, aged between 50 and 55, are being given low-risk tasks while 12,000 more, aged above 55, have been asked to stay home.
Earlier, The Indian Express had reported how the two lakh-strong state police force was increasingly facing the issue of multiple units going partly or entirely into quarantine, as cops tested positive for the virus and the responsibilities of the affected units were handed over to other units.
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