The central paramilitary forces, involved in internal security duties, recorded a spike in coronavirus cases with 45 personnel testing positive on Sunday, even as the Central Reserve Police Force headquarters in New Delhi was sealed after two staffers contracted the disease.
The five-storey building is located inside the Central Government Offices complex on Lodhi Road and houses the central control room and the office of the CRPF Director General among other operational and administrative wings to keep the over 3.25 lakh-personnel force moving.
A personal secretary of a Special Director General-rank officer working in the headquarters tested positive for the virus on Saturday, officials said.
Also, a bus driver who ferried personnel working at the headquarters, contracted the disease, they added.
“One driver attached with CRPF headquarters has tested COVID-19 positive. The headquarters is closed for sanitisation till the task is completed,” said a spokesperson for the CRPF, the country‘s largest paramilitary force.
An order issued by the force said as “one coronavirus positive (case) has been detected in the directorate (headquarters), all officers and men working in the directorate general are requested not to come to office and work from home till then.”
It said the head office will be closed till Tuesday.
A senior official said CRPF authorities have informed the district surveillance officer for “initiating required protocols” as per medical guidelines, for time-bound proper sealing of the building.
“All procedures will be followed. CRPF Director General A P Maheshwari has issued clear directions that all COVID-19 guidelines have to be followed strictly,” he said.
They said a -tracing exercise was conducted after which over 50 personnel who came in direct or indirect touch with the two infected staffers have been quarantined.
The force has been witnessing multiple cases of COVID-19, with at least 135 personnel of its 31st battalion based in Delhi being infected and a 55-year-old Sub-Inspector of the unit succumbing to the disease last week.
As per latest data, at least 144 CRPF personnel are coronavirus positive in the country.
Two other paramilitary forces, also known as Central Armed Police Forces, the Border Security Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police registered an increase in their overall infection numbers.
As many as 25 more Border Security Force personnel tested positive for the disease on Sunday, taking the overall tally to 42, an official spokesperson said.
All the new cases were reported from a unit of the 126th battalion of the force, deployed in the Jama Masjid and Chandni Mahal areas of the national capital on law-and-order duties under the command of the Delhi Police.
This unit now has 31 positive coronavirus cases.
The 2.5-lakh-personnel-strong force is primarily tasked with guarding the Indian borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh, apart from rendering a variety of duties in the country‘s internal security domain.
In the ITBP, a 60-year-old just-retired head constable, who was still living on its campus, succumbed to coronavirus infection on Sunday as 20 other personnel of the border-guarding force contracted the disease, officials said.
They said the official, who breathed his last at Safdarjung Hospital, had co-morbid conditions and was living at a camp of the force in Tigri (Khanpur) area of the national capital.
A total of 21 Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel, including the deceased, have been found positive for COVID-19 till now, the officials said.
While some of them were part of a unit (50th battalion) and were assisting the Delhi Police in maintaining law and order, the rest were from the Tigri camp, they said.
The ITBP is a 90,000-strong force primarily tasked with guarding the Line of Actual Control with China apart from rendering other internal security duties.