As many as 49 members of the National Disaster Response Force who had gone to West Bengal for rescue and relief operations during Cyclone Amphan has tested positive for COVID-19. They were all part of a 190 strong team that had gone to West Bengal last month from Odisha.
“In view of inquiries it is informed that on testing of #NDRF personnel in Odisha after return from #CycloneAmphan duties 50 were found positive of nearly 190 personnel tested for COVID19. So far all these personnel are asymptomatic & under observation,” NDRF DG SN Pradhan tweeted late on Monday night.
Sources, however, said the actual number was 49. This also forms the largest chunk of positive cases in NDRF which has reported infections in single digits in Delhi. NDRF had until recently remained untouched by Covid even as infections in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) had crossed 1500.
“As per procedure the team had gone to West Bengal after being tested for Covid-19 and coming out negative. They were again tested when they returned. Of 190, 49 tested positive. But they are all asymptomatic and we are hoping we will see 100% recovery,” an NDRF official said.
With just under 10 deaths but more than 1500 cases, CAPFs have been among the worst affected groups. CRPF and BSF, which have been at the forefront of law and order duties in various cities, have reported the maximum cases. They together make up for over 1000 cases.
However, given the young profile of the forces, they are also reporting high rate of recovery, almost over 80% in BSF. Of the 504 cases reported in CRPF, 345 have recovered while five have died. In BSF, there have been 535 infections till date but only 108 are under treatment at the moment.
“The number of active infections were going down fast and in BSF they had reached 40, but after the lockdown was opened they started rising again. This has been largely because personnel have been returning from leave from their native places,” a BSF officer said.
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police force, which guards the Sino-Indian border, has reported 213 cases of which 186 have recovered. In CISF, which handles airport and industrial security, there have been around 366 cases of which 217 have recovered and three deaths have been reported.
NDRF, NSG and SSB have together accounted for more than 120 odd cases, sources said.
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