135 troopers from CRPF battalion in Delhi test positive for COVID-19

Maximum number of infected personnel have been asymptomatic and are expected to get cured soon

A total of 480 samples from the unit were sent for testing, out of which results for 458 have come and 22 are awaited. Photo: PTI (representational)

The number of COVID-19 positive cases in the Delhi battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has increased to 135, with 12 troopers testing positive for the virus on May 1.

Officials on Saturday (May 2) said the men belonged to the 31st battalion of the paramilitary force, based in Mayur Vihar Phase-III of the national capital. The battalion has been sealed after the spike in COVID-19 cases over the last few days. “A total of 135 troopers of this battalion have tested positive for the virus,” a senior official said.

A total of 480 samples from the unit were sent for testing, out of which results for 458 have come and 22 are awaited. A mobile coronavirus testing lab has been stationed on the premises of the battalion to ensure quick collection of samples. A special sanitisation drive is also being conducted on the campus and in its vicinity, the official said.

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However, the maximum number of infected troopers have been asymptomatic and it is expected that they will be cured soon, the official said. The personnel have been admitted to an isolation facility at Mandoli.

Earlier this week, a 55-year-old Sub-Inspector from the unit had succumbed to the disease. The spike in numbers in a single battalion of over 1,000 troopers has rung alarm bells in the establishment after it was found that “dichotomous” orders were issued to check the spread of COVID-19.

The general order had told personnel joining back from leave or having suspected exposure to an infected person to be under mandatory quarantine of 14 days. However, an order issued by the medical wing of the CRPF in April said doctors and paramedics could be taken off the quarantine if they did not show any symptom after five days.

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Officials have indicated that the primary source of the COVID-19 infection in the unit could be a constable (nursing assistant), who had joined the battalion after finishing his leave period at his home in the NCR. He was posted in the CRPF battalion deployed in Kupwara of Jammu and Kashmir and it is not clear as to how he contracted the infection. But his family members had tested negative.

It could be also possible that another asymptomatic person from the 31st battalion was the primary source of the infection in the unit, they said. Personnel of the unit were deployed for rendering law and order duties along with Delhi Police in the recent past.

The force is investigating all these angles, besides an instance where it was claimed that the nursing attendant was not kept under strict quarantine in the battalion camp, leading to the spread of the infection.

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