Central forces witness spike in COVID-19 cases; tally rises to 650

CRPF has reported the maximum of 231 cases; a Delhi-based battalion alone has 137 infected troops

The agencies have issued directions to their personnel to maintain strict social distancing and sanitisation measures. Photo: PTI (file)

The total number of COVID-19 cases among the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) troops has spiked to more than 650, with at least 116 personnel testing positive for the disease on Saturday (May 9). So far, five personnel have died due to the COVID-19.

Positive cases have been witnessed in Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

The agencies have issued directions to their personnel to maintain strict social distancing and sanitisation measures, and be in quarantine in their camps and offices. The directions come a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with DGs of all Central Armed Police Forces.

The maximum number of cases over the last 24 hours were reported from the CRPF, at 62. These troopers belong to the 194th Rapid Action Force (RAF) based in Delhi. The total number of active cases in the country’s largest paramilitary force currently stands at 231.

All the infected personnel have been put in quarantine at a school in Bawana area, officials said. While two CRPF personnel have been cured, a 55-year-old Sub-Inspector has succumbed to the disease. The 31st battalion of the CRPF in Delhi has about 137 positive cases and the troops are being treated at a Delhi government facility in Mandoli.

The Border Security Force, the second-largest CAPF with about 2.5 lakh personnel, reported 35 cases over the past 24 hours, pushing the total active cases in the force to 256. The maximum number of cases is from a unit that was deployed in Delhi and from the border state of Tripura.

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The Central Industrial Security Force, the national civil aviation protection force, saw 13 fresh cases during the same period, taking its total active cases to 48. The maximum 31 cases in the 1.62-lakh-personnel CISF are from the unit that guards the Delhi Metro followed by 13 in the Mumbai international airport guarding unit.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police saw 6 fresh cases. It has 100 active COVID-19 positive troops now, the maximum being from its camp in south Delhi’s Tigri area and a company that was deployed for law and order duties in the national capital. On the other hand, the Sashastra Seema Bal has at least 18 active cases as of now.

The AIIMS in Jhajjar has been designated as a special coronavirus facility for the CAPF personnel apart from their 200-bedded referral hospital in Greater Noida. “A total of 126 troops from various CAPFs and their family members are admitted at the referral hospital at present. They are stable,” ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey said.

(With agency inputs)