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COVID-19: 6 more CRPF personnel of Delhi-based battalion test positive; tally rises to 52


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Six more personnel from a Delhi-based battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, officials said.
The total number of infected troops in this unit now stands at 52.
The men belong to the 31st battalion of the paramilitary, based in Mayur Vihar Phase-III area, that has been entirely sealed after 46 personnel were infected with the novel coronavirus and one succumbed to it over the last few days.
Six more out of the 89 samples taken have tested positive for COVID-19, a senior official said.
All the troops suffering from the infection have been admitted for treatment to various hospitals in the national capital, he said.
A 55-year-old sub-inspector rank official had succumbed to the novel coronavirus on Tuesday.
These kind of numbers in a single battalion (that has over 1,000 troops) of the country's largest paramilitary force has rung alarm bells in the establishment after it was found that "dichotomous" orders were issued to check the spread of COVID-19.
While the general order in the force was a mandatory quarantine of 14 days for personnel joining back the unit from leave or having suspected exposure to a coronavirus infected person, CRPF officers said it recently came to light that the medical wing of the paramilitary force issued a separate order sometime in April stating that doctors and paramedics can be taken off the quarantine if they do not show any symptoms after five days.
Officials have indicated that the primary source of the COVID-19 infection in this unit is a constable (nursing assistant) who joined this battalion after finishing his leave period at his home in the national capital region.
The nursing assistant is posted in an another CRPF battalion deployed in Kupwara of Jammu and Kashmir and it is not clear as to how he contracted the infection.
It could be possible that some other members from the 31st battalion was the primary source of infection for the unit, they said.
The force is investigating all these angles apart from an instance where it was claimed that the nursing attendant was not kept under strict quarantine in the battalion camp leading to spread of the infection.
Over 400 samples of troops and their families from this unit have already been collected, the officials said.
The 3.25 lakh personnel strong CRPF is designated as the lead internal security force of the country apart from being the mainstay for anti-Naxal operations and counter-terrorist duties in the Kashmir valley.

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First Published: Apr 30 2020 | 9:52 PM IST

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