The coronavirus outbreak is taking a heavy toll on the frontline warriors. After doctors and nurses, it’s now the turn of the men in khaki to face the Covid-19 blues. More than 500 police officials have so far been found corona-positive in Maharashtra, with almost half of them — 233 to be precise — coming from the city of Mumbai alone. Five deaths have also been reported among policemen in the state, with three in Mumbai and one each in Pune and Solapur. Vinayak Deshmukh, Assistant Inspector General, Law and Order, Maharashtra Police, speaking to The Daily Guardian, said, “Most of our officials who are Covid-positive come from Mumbai, Thane, Malegaon and Pune, which are corona hotspots in the state. We are taking various measures so that our officials don’t contract the virus. Instructions are given to take precautionary measures, especially those working in these hotspots. And when positive cases are found, they are given all possible support and treatment.”
Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said that he would hold a meeting with the Maharashtra Chief Minister to discuss the worsening Covid-19 situation in the state, as 34 out of its 36 districts are affected by the infection. “The situation in Maharashtra is certainly a matter of concern right now as 34 out of 36 districts are affected by Covid-19. I will hold a meeting with the Chief Minister as well to discuss further course of action to control spread of the virus in the state,” the minister said at a press conference. “Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Nagpur, Nashik, Aurangabad, Solapur, among the 34 districts are a cause of concern for us,” he added. Among the corona-positive cops, 26 were found in South Mumbai’s JJ Marg Police Station. Twelve police officials of the police station were tested positive on Wednesday after which 60 officials were quarantined as a precautionary measure. On Monday, 12 policemen from the same police station tested positive, followed by two more the next day. Deputy Commissioner Police Sangramsingh Nishandar said, “Twelve policemen were found positive on Monday, two on Tuesday and 12 on Wednesday, taking the tally to 26.”
One official who was found positive said on the condition of anonymity, “Most of the policemen found positive were asymptomatic, while some are having symptoms like cold and headache and have been treated in hospital.” On Tuesday An IPS officer in Mumbai too was tested positive. This officer posted in South Central Mumbai, sources say, was asymptomatic and has been sent to home quarantine and staff in contact with him have also been quarantined. Earlier, several police officials from Nagpada, Pydhonie, Mahim, Dharavi and Shahunagar police stations were tested positive for coronavirus The Maharashtra Police department is second largest employer in the state, following the revenue department. While its total strength in the state is almost two lakh, about 45,000 are stationed in Mumbai alone.