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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Cases surge in Maharashtra police, testing and precaution stepped up

🔴 In the week ending January 8, the state police has reported as many as 1,142 cases, which include 274 officers and 868 constabulary staff.

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune |
Updated: January 11, 2022 9:03:28 am
Cases surge in Maharashtra police, testing and precaution stepped upThe number of active cases as on the morning of January 9 was 1,317 in the Maharashtra police department. (File/Express Photo)

Amid rising Covid-19 cases, the Maharashtra police force has reported a tenfold rise in daily Covid cases since the new year began. Testing of police personnel has been ramped up and additional precautionary measures are being put in place as the police force gears for yet another wave in the pandemic.

The two lakh-strong Maharashtra police force was reporting a dozen cases daily by the end of 2021. But from 26 new cases on January 2, the number jumped to 155 on January 5, 232 on January 6 and 263 on January 8. In the week ending January 8, the state police has reported as many as 1,142 cases, which include 274 officers and 868 constabulary staff. The number of active cases as on the morning of January 9 was 1,317 in the Maharashtra police.

As many as 8,975 police personnel were in quarantine as on January 8, either after testing positive themselves or with a close contact testing positive. Officials said this has affected functioning of some key units in the state police force. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Maharashtra state police have reported 502 Covid-19 deaths, which includes 45 officers and 457 personnel, while a total of 47,641 cases have been reported till now. Maharashtra police remains the worst-affected security force in the country.

A police officer from Maharashtra police headquarters said, “The government on Saturday announced a new set of guidelines and restrictions, which means more personnel will be deployed to enforce these restrictions. This will be in addition to the routine policing duties, which place us in the high risk category for Covid-19 infection. The police force is almost 100 per cent double vaccinated and as a result, the rate of hospitalisation is very low. But we have ramped up testing of the high risk contacts of those who have tested positive and also of those who are performing duties with high exposure to people. All the unit commanders have been directed to ensure very strict Covid-appropriate practices among personnel and officers. The Covid-appropriate Standard Operating Procedures for arrests, court duties and high risk works have been re-introduced.”

Since the beginning of the lockdown, the police force has been deployed in various high exposure and high risk duties like guarding the boundaries of districts or containment zones or deployment at high risk isolation wards, quarantine facilities or hospitals. Police were also given additional responsibility of managing the large number of migrant workers who were travelling in addition to all the routine police work.

Another officer added, “A large number of officers are testing positive for the second time and there are rare cases where personnel have tested positive for the third time during the pandemic. In the latest surge, a high number of cases are being reported from Mumbai City, Pune City and Mira-Bhayandar police jurisdictions. These jurisdictions are taking additional measures to ensure that risks are minimized without compromising on the duties, essential tasks and investigations.”

Of the total 502 deaths in the Maharashtra police since the beginning of the pandemic, 124 have been reported from Mumbai police, which comprises a fifth of the force’s strength. Other units that have reported a high number of deaths are Thane City at 37, Nagpur City at 25, Pune City at 20, Ahmednagar at 17, Gadchiroli at 16, Nashik Rural at 14 and the State Reserve Police Force at 14.

As many 422 cases of assault on police personnel have been reported during pandemic duty till now in which over 1,000 people have been arrested.

Cases surge in Pune City Police

The Pune City Police has recorded 232 new cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of this month. Of the 232 newly recorded cases, only two personnel needed hospitalisation, officials said. The Pune City Police has a strength of 7,500, including officers and personnel. It has reported 2,670 Covid-19 cases during the pandemic.

As far as vaccination is concerned, 100 per cent of the police force has received both the doses. Till now, a total of 7,494 police personnel, including 861 officers, have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

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