Police battle invisible enemy with more precautionary measures
Of the 36 policemen who have tested positive for COVID-19, 28 are being treated currently. “Fortunately, all 28 are recovering well and have reported no complications,” said City Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao. Seven personnel have been discharged, while one assistant sub-inspector has died.
A bulk of these cases were reported over the last two weeks, raising concern among personnel, who are worried not only about themselves but also about their family members. Mr. Rao addressed over 12,500 personnel in a webinar on Thursday evening. “The message I wanted to deliver is this: don’t lose your spirit. Do your duty, but take all necessary precautions and the government is there to take care of you,” he told The Hindu.
Policing has become increasingly risky as the personnel who contracted the virus were either on duty in containment zones or in contact with accused persons brought to police stations for interrogation. “We cannot not do policing either. So we have now issued SOPs stating that any accused, before being brought to the police station, should be made to take a bath, wear a fresh set of clothes, have their nails cut, and undergo testing for COVID-19,” he said.
Five police stations — City Market Traffic, V.V. Puram Traffic, Sampangiram Nagar, Marathahalli, and Kalasipalya — as well as the headquarters of the Central Crime Branch are sealed at present. The Soladevanahalli police station, which had been sealed, is operational again.
“The family members of the assistant sub-inspector who was diagnosed with COVID-19 after his death did not come forward to conduct his last rites, fearing contracting the infection. Our policemen did the last rites,” Mr. Rao said, adding that he had written to the State government to make arrangements for a group insurance claim of ₹50 lakh for the deceased policeman.
Meanwhile, more than 6,000 policemen have till date been tested for COVID-19 in the city. “As we are yet to test all our personnel, those who tested negative a few weeks ago need to be tested again as they may have contracted the infection while on duty later. This is an ongoing process we are trying to keep pace with,” Mr. Rao said.