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28 CRPF men from Assam test positive in Delhi

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, May 5 - At least 28 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel hailing from Assam and posted in a Delhi-based battalion have been infected with COVID-19, while one has died. Altogether 122 personnel of the battalion have tested positive for the dreaded novel coronavirus, officials said.

The latest figures came even as the CRPF headquarters here has been sealed after a personal staff of a senior officer tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. A personal secretary of a Special Director General (SDG) rank officer working in the headquarters has tested positive for the virus and hence the building has been sealed.

The infected men belong to the 31st battalion of the CRPF, based in Mayur Vihar Phase-III of the national capital and the area has been entirely sealed after the huge numbers of COVID-19 cases started building up over the last few days. �A total of 122 troopers of this battalion have tested positive for the virus. Results for over 100 more are awaited,� an official said.

The brighter side is that the maximum of these infected troopers are asymptomatic, he said, adding that the personnel are admitted to an isolation facility of the Delhi government at Mandoli.

These huge numbers in a single battalion (of over 1,000 troopers) 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 was a mandatory quarantine of 14 days for the personnel joining back the unit from leave or having suspected exposure to a coronavirus-infected person, officials said the CRPF medical wing had issued a separate order in April stating that paramedics can be taken off quarantine if they do not show any symptom after five days.

Officials have indicated that the primary source of the COVID-19 infection in this unit could be a constable (nursing assistant) who joined this battalion after finishing his leave period at his home in the NCR.

The jawan is posted in another CRPF battalion deployed in Kupwara of Jammu & Kashmir and it is not clear as to how he contracted the infection. Family members of the jawan had also tested negative.

It could also be possible that some other asymptomatic personnel from the 31st battalion was the primary source of infection for the unit, officials said.

The CRPF 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 the spread of the COVID-19 infection.

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