The Centre on Wednesday (March 18) ordered all paramilitary forces to go into “battle mode,” and issued an advisory delineating their role and responsibility to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The advisory came hours after the Indian Army confirmed the first case of coronavirus from its fold – a 34-year-old soldier from Ladakh Scouts, also called “Snow Warriors,” an infantry regiment. At least 800 soldiers who may have come in contact with him at the Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre in Leh have been quarantined.
According to guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the director generals of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), National Security Guards (NSG) and Assam Rifles have been asked to cancel all non-emergency leaves of paramilitary personnel to minimise the risk of the virus during travel.
The advisory asks the forces which have a strength of 10 lakh personnel, to practise caution in the next three “crucial” weeks to contain the spread of the disease, said a report by Hindustan Times.
It specifically asks CAPF personnel to avoid international and domestic flights or travel by bus or train for at least a month, barring exceptions.
Asking the forces to postpone meetings and reviews related to promotions, medical review and sports tournaments, it says, “There is a need to get into battle mode and plan ahead not only in theory but through practical demonstration and drills.”
The forces have also been asked to social distance themselves, avoid handshakes and even keep an emergency budget to purchase sanitary items like hand sanitisers and hand wash.
Personnel and their families have been asked to avoid crowds, gyms and swimming pools.
Separate instructions have been laid down by those who are under quarantine.
“For those in quarantine, enable contact with outside world through mobile, laptop, television and newspapers. Chargers and adaptors with sufficient charging points are a must. Sufficient items of clothing, medicines, food and groceries should be ensured,” the advisory says.
“Social distancing for general public and meticulous personal prophylaxis and disinfection for healthcare staff is required. There is a need to get into battle mode and plan ahead… in theory and through drills.”