Security personnel form a large percentage of Covid-positive cases in all Northeastern states except Assam, officials confirmed on Tuesday
According to data, 337 (52.9%) of the total 637 active cases in Arunachal Pradesh are from the forces, including Army, CRPF, BSF and others. In Mizoram, of the 326 active cases, 201 (61.7%) are from the forces, including Assam Rifles, BSF, CRPF and others. In Meghalaya, 255 (40.7%) of the 626 active cases are from the BSF and other forces.
Nagaland has reported 3,011 total cases so far, of which 1,372 (45.6%) belong to the forces. In Nagaland, of the 20 who tested positive on Tuesday, 13 are armed forces.
In Tripura, 720 BSF personnel have so far tested positive, but a senior BSF official in the state said that most of them have recovered.
In Manipur, 57 people tested positive on Monday, of which 43 belong to the central armed forces. Manipur has 1,720 active cases, of which 726 (42.2%) are central security personnel.
Three BSF personnel — one in Meghalaya and two in Tripura — recently died of Covid. Earlier this month, the Mizoram government decided not to allow paramilitary personnel to enter the state till August 15. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 2, CM Zoramthanga wrote that the “main hurdle” the state was facing in checking the spread of Covid was the “unrestricted movement” of paramilitary forces.
In Nagaland, paramilitary forces have rescheduled the induction of personnel from outside the state considering that a large number of them were testing positive.
A senior Army officer, on the condition of anonymity, said that personnel returning to the Northeast after leave were put through rigorous testing and 28-day quarantine. He said the Covid situation was under control now because of such stringent measures.
A senior BSF officer, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that not even one civilian has been known to be infected by a BSF personnel in Meghalaya and that the disease spread in the camps. “Soldiers were going back from leave. The test result took a few days to come but by that time there was some contact and the virus spread. This was one of the main reasons for the spread,” he said, pointing out that 80 BSF personnel were among active cases in the state.
The officer said that most of the BSF’s work in Meghalaya was being executed remotely and through a control room. The force has prohibited gatherings in its camps. “Soldiers who are recovering from Covid have expressed their willingness to donate plasma which will help treat future patients,” the officer said.