Security personnel in Punjab continue testing positive for novel corinavirus. On Friday, 43 BSF personnel tested positive from BSF’s training centre camp at Kharkan in Hoshiarpur, taking the total number of BSF personnel testing positive for the infection to nearly 200 in the state.
Out of 200, 169 of them have tested positive from Kharkan BSF camp alone. Further, at least 17 BSF personnel from Amritsar and 15 others from across the state have been diagnosed with the infection.
As per a Health Department official, at least 258 Punjab Police personnel, around 60 Railway Protection Force personnel and more than two dozen of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel have already tested positive in the state.
Hoshiarpur district epidemiologist Dr Sailesh Kumar told The Indian Express that BSF personnel at Kharkan camp had arrived from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Dr Kumar said that the BSF personnel arriving at the training centre were “not isolated” and “mingled” at places like the mess.
Dr Kumar said that “isolation” was being ensured now and “movement of personnel had been restricted to maintain social distancing”.
A senior BSF official said that “At organisational level, there was no lapse. Initially, there was strict adherence to norms to check the spread of the infection. Subsequently, when the restrictions were eased, the norms were probably not adhered to that strictly by the personnel, including mandatory wearing of masks. So, the lapses appear to be at individual level.”
Maintaining social distancing in force like BSF is a tall order in the light of the fact that a number of personnel are housed together in barracks. The BSF official, however, said, “Though a barrack can house as many as 120 personnel depending on the barrack size, but due to pandemic compartmentalisation was done in barracks to ensure social distancing and check the spread. Even tents were put in place to house the BSF personnel to ensure social distancing,” said the official.
Earlier, around 60 RPF personnel from Ludhiana had tested positive.
A Health Department official in Ludhiana district said that after first RPF case surfaced in Ludhiana, testing was done for three other who shared room with him.
“Two out of the three subsequently tested positive. Later, many more from the same battalion which had come from Delhi tested positive. Then there were personnel from a Udhampur-based RPF battalion which was stationed in Ludhiana who also tested positive,” said the official.
Testing positive for the infection from across various districts of the state, Punjab Police personnel have been on frontline duty during lockdown and curfew. State DGP Dinkar Gupta had gone in for random testing of the policemen for Covid-19 on a massive scale.
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