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Over 2,000 cops in Maharashtra infected

Written by Sushant Kulkarni
| Pune |

Published: May 29, 2020 3:21:19 am

Cases in the police force account for 3.6 per cent of total cases in Maharashtra, which is nearly 57,000 as on Thursday. (Representational Photo)

The number of police personnel who have contracted coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Maharashtra crossed the 2000-mark on Thursday, when the total number of cases reached 2,095 in the two lakh-strong police force. The force had seen as many as 131 new cases on Wednesday.

As per the numbers shared by officials from Maharashtra Police headquarters on Thursday afternoon, among the 2,095 cases, 236 are officers and 1,859 are constables. Of these, 22 police personnel have succumbed to the infection till date while a total of 897 — 75 officers and 822 constables — have recovered.

Cases in the police force account for 3.6 per cent of total cases in Maharashtra, which is nearly 57,000 as on Thursday.

The Indian Express had reported that the majority of these cases were either local personnel from Mumbai, its surrounding areas and Nashik district’s Malegaon city, or personnel of the Maharashtra State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), who were deployed in these high-risk areas and later repatriated to their home units. The SRPF units based in Aurangabad, Hingoli, Jalna, Daund and Pune have been the worst hit.

Of the total 2,095 infected police personnel, over 1,200 are from Mumbai Police and over 545 from various units of SRPF. Other than Mumbai, Malegaon and SRPF, significant number of cases have been found among police personnel in Thane city, Pune city, Navi Mumbai, Solapur and Mumbai Railway Police.

As a precautionary measure, nearly 23,000 police personnel between 50 and 55 years of age are being given low-risk police station tasks while 12,000 more, who are above 55, have been asked to stay home. Duty hours at check-points have also been made shorter. Over 6,000 police personnel, who are primary contacts of those who have tested positive, are currently quarantined, either at home or institutionally.

A senior Maharashtra Police officer said over 11,000 Home Guard personnel are being deployed across the state to ensure that police jurisdictions with areas badly affected by Covid-19 have enough manpower. On May 13, the state government asked the Union Home Ministry to deploy 20 companies of Central Armed Police Forces. Ten companies comprising nearly 1,200 personnel have been deployed in the state since then.

While percentage of recovered personnel in overall state police is 42 per cent, that among SRPF personnel is 70 per cent because of personnel being in a younger age bracket and physically fitter.

Since the beginning of the nationwide lockdown, Maharashtra Police has started contact tracing of infected persons and monitoring of home or institutional quarantine. Their most crucial role has been implementing the lockdown, closure of containment zones and district boundaries, and issuing travel permits. Lately, they also have the responsibility of facilitating the homeward journeys of stranded labourers, students and others.

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