A group of 122 Central Reserve Police Force personnel have tested positive for the coronavirus in Delhi over the past two weeks, NDTV reported. The officers are part of the 31st battalion of the paramilitary force, based in Mayur Vihar Phase-3 in East Delhi.
Another 100 personnel from the battalion were also tested for the virus and their test results are awaited. Those who tested positive have been admitted to an isolation facility in Mandoli, according to PTI.
Twelve personnel in the battalion tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday and a 55-year-old sub-inspector of the unit died of Covid-19 on Tuesday at the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. In the same week, 45 personnel of the same battalion tested positive for the virus.
Reports suggest the personnel may have contracted the virus from a nursing assistant who joined the battalion after completing a leave period at the officer’s home in the National Capital Region. The officer tested positive on April 21 and has been admitted to the Rajiv Gandhi Hospital in Delhi. The nursing assistant was posted with another CRPF battalion in Kupwara, Jammu-Kashmir. It is still unclear how the officer contracted the infection.
The large number of cases reported from a single battalion, comprising over 1,000 personnel has sparked concern among authorities. According to reports, the spread of the infection is linked to certain discrepancies in two directives. The Centre has mandated 14-day quarantine for personnel joining the unit from their leaves or having suspected exposure to a coronavirus-infected person.
However, the medical wing of the paramilitary reportedly issued a separate order, saying the quarantine can be for five days if they do not exhibit any symptoms. On April 17, the medical wing of the paramilitary issued a second directive, changing the quarantine period back to 14 days.
Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry has taken note of the matter, asking the CRPF chief to explain the sudden rise in coronavirus cases and why it could not be contained, unidentified officials told NDTV.
The number of coronavirus cases in India has risen to 37,336, according to the health ministry’s Saturday morning update. Covid-19 has killed 1,218 people in the country.