Two BSF personnel succumbed to Covid-19 on Thursday even as the total number of infections in the force crossed 200, officials said. The new infections have taken the number of cases in the paramilitary to over 500, including 162 in CRPF, 82 in ITBP, 32 in CISF and 17 in SSB. Most of these cases have been reported from Delhi, except for over 50 BSF cases in Tripura and 19 from CISF in other parts of the country.
On Thursday, 90 paramilitary personnel tested positive at the Central Armed Police Force’s Referral Hospital in Greater Noida, including 41 from BSF, 37 from ITBP, one from CRPF and the others from CISF and SSB.
Apart from this, 24 new infections were reported in the BSF from Tripura. In a tweet late on Thursday night, state CM Biplab Deb said, “Alert: 24 persons from 86th Bn (battalion) #BSF Ambassador found #COVID19 Positive today.”
🔔 ALERT 🔔
📌Total #COVID19 patients in Tripura now stands: 88
⏩Active cases: 86
There is no POSITIVE case among civilians.
⏱️ Updated at 10.30 pm / May 7#TripuraCovid19Count
— Biplab Kumar Deb (@BjpBiplab) May 7, 2020
He also claimed that the state had 88 cases of which none were civilians. BSF sources, however, claimed the state appeared to have included infected family members of BSF personnel as BSF infections.
Of the two BSF personnel who died, officials said, one had a kidney ailment. Sources said the patient had been undergoing treatment at the BSF’s R K Puram hospital and contracted the disease during a visit to a super-specialty hospital for dialysis.
Officials said the other victim was 45 years old, had no co-morbidities, and died Monday, within two days of developing symptoms. His Covid test results came two days after his death.
BSF spokesperson Shubhendu Bharadwaj said most of those who have got infected were deployed with Delhi Police for internal security duty during the pandemic. Of the 41 new infections in Delhi, 12 are from the company that was deployed on law and order duty in Jama Masjid and Chandni Mahal areas. This company of 94 personnel has 73 positive cases.
The CISF has recorded 13 cases in Delhi, including 11 personnel deployed at Metro stations and the rest at IGI airport. The force also reported the death of a head constable, who was posted at the Mumbai international airport, due to Covid-19. All the SSB, ITBP and CRPF cases are from Delhi.
At the ITBP’s Tigri camp in South Delhi, where one death has been reported, the case count has reached 72. The infection in the camp is said to have spread from its grocery store. The rest of the infections have been reported from a company deployed with Delhi Police in Shastri Park on law and order duty.
Deeply pained to know about the loss of our two brave @BSF_India soldiers, who were battling COVID-19. I join millions of Indians in mourning their untimely demise. Condolences to the bereaved families. May God give them strength to withstand this tragic loss. Om Shanti Shanti.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) May 7, 2020
For CRPF, the force’s Mayur Vihar camp has emerged as a hotspot with 137 cases, and one death.
“What has worsened the situation is that a large majority of cases have been without symptoms and soldiers largely live in barracks where proximity is natural,” a paramilitary officer said.
“So, if one personnel gets the infection and is asymptomatic, the virus will spread quickly through the entire barrack,” he added.
The BSF has been aggressively tracking primary, secondary and tertiary contacts of all those testing positive and putting them under quarantine. All of them are then subjected to Covid 19 tests.
In Tripura, where over 50 BSF personnel have tested positive, the personnel are also facing rebuke from the general public. In one instance, after sick personnel threw up midway to the hospital, local villagers agitated and accused the BSF of spreading the virus, sources said.
Taking to Twitter, Home Minister Amit Shah said he was “deeply pained to know about the loss of our two brave” BSF soldiers. In an official statement, the BSF said that the force was “grief-stricken” over the deaths.