As the number of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra crossed 22,000 on Monday morning, another worrying number came to the fore as positive cases in the state police force crossed the 1,000 — signifying how police personnel are at high risk.
As on Monday morning, 106 officers and 901 constables from the state police tested positive, taking the number to 1,007. As on the morning of May 9, this figure stood at 714, but 293 cases were added to the tally in two days. Of the 1,007, 15 officers and 98 constables have already recovered. The number of active cases as on Monday morning was 887. Seven cops have died of the infection to date.
“A majority of these cases are local police personnel from Mumbai, Thane, Malegaon or personnel of the State Reserved Police Force (SRPF), who were deployed in high-risk areas. The numbers are also rapidly increasing due to aggressive testing and many are asymptomatic. However, the number of cases is undoubtedly worrying. All the police personnel, who have tested positive, have been quarantined and hospitalised as needed. Their contacts have been quarantined,” said a senior officer from the state police headquarters.
The officer added, “Separate hospitals, isolation and quarantine facilities have been identified for the police. Day by day, more cops in high-risk areas are being given PPE. There is a continuous supply of safety utilities like sanitisers, face shields, masks etc. Having said that, we are also analysing the cases that have come up so far so as to identify measures to avoid more. While in the entire state, there are over 22,000 cases, the police force, of close to 2.2 lakh, has 1,000 cases. As a precautionary measure, all those who are aged or have health issues or woman cops, who are pregnant or have young children, have either been taken off duty or have been given low-risk duties.”
As of Monday, the number of SRPF personnel, who have tested positive, is around 275 — most of them are from SRPF units located in Aurangabad, Hingoli and Jalna returned from their duties in Mumbai, Malegaon and Thane, officials said.
In a video posted on Twitter on Monday morning, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said, “Around 2,25,000 police personnel in Maharashtra are fighting the battle against Covid-19 day and night, while jeopardising their own safety. To raise their morale, I have put the emblem of the Maharashtra Police as the display picture of my social media account and have also urged others. It has received a massive response from across the state. I want to assure all the police personnel that all the people of the state are behind them.”