The armed forces have recorded 12,640 Covid-19 cases among its serving personnel so far, of which 4,744 were still in hospital till Tuesday.
According to data available till August 17, there were 25 deaths (less than 0.2 per cent), while the rest were discharged. While the total number of cases in India is over 27.67 lakh, the case fatality ratio is 1.91 per cent.
The case fatality ratio was higher among retired Armed Forces personnel – 1,233 total cases, 131 deaths (over 10 per cent). While 308 are in hospital, the rest have been discharged.
Among the dependents of serving personnel, a total of 1,870 cases were reported, of which 68 died (3.63 per cent), and 522 are in hospital. The rest have been discharged.
A total of 842 dependents of ex-servicemen have tested positive so far, of which 65 died (7.71 per cent), 191 are in hospital, and the rest have been discharged.
While the break-up of the number of cases for each service is not available, the Armed Forces had conducted about 1.74 lakh tests till August 17.
The Army conducted 1,40,202 tests, of which 11,967 were positive; the Armed Forces Medical College did 20,203 tests, of which 4,787 were positive; the Indian Air Force did 9,900 tests of which 1,428 were positive; and the Navy did 3,513 tests, of which 1,137 were positive.
However, the total number of tests include those on civilians too, including over 3,000 people who were quarantined in various facilities set up by the forces.
While the forces have tried to restrict the caseload by enforcing social distancing and other measures, the movement of troops, due to the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, posed additional challenges as there was the threat of infecting soldiers on the frontline.
An Army spokesperson said “there are two ways of isolation” to protect soldiers. “Because there is no physical isolation possible between soldiers in an operational environment, it is important to protect the full module. You socially isolate the module,” he said.
He said “a body of troops” is treated as an individual, but “when there is an entry necessitated, then you have to follow the same system”. So, a 14-day quarantine is mandatory for anyone who has changed his/ her location.
The spokesperson said that since the “general fitness level” of Army personnel is “very high”, there are fewer comorbidities.
IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Indranil Nandi said home isolation or institutional quarantine is mandatory whenever any person/ family changes location, depending on the place they come from and the mode of transport.
With the IAF also moving its personnel in view of the standoff with China, Nandi said that “while keeping these common precautions in mind, when people went from Place A to Place B, they were not allowed to mix with others who were already there”. He said intermingling of people at bars or the mess was stopped.
“But it was ensured that operational readiness was not compromised,” Nandi said.
Since May, the Navy has brought back about 4,000 Indians from other countries as part of its Operation Samudra Setu. Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said apart from the regular protocol to be followed on ships, submarines and establishments, zones were demarcated in the ships involved in Operation Samudra Setu to prevent intermingling of the crew with the evacuees. “The ships were equipped with relief, Covid protection material and medical and administrative support staff,” said Madhwal.