Covid-19: 122 men from a single CRPF battalion in Delhi test positive; more results are expected

NEW DELHI: The number of personnel in a Delhi-based battalion, the country's largest paramilitary, increased to 122, officials said on Saturday.

The men belong to the 31st paramilitary battalion, based in the Vihar Phase III area of ​​the national capital, which has been completely sealed after the large amount of Covid-19 infection began to accumulate in recent days.

A total of 122 soldiers from this battalion have tested positive for the virus. Results are expected for more than 100 more, a senior official said.

The silver lining is that the maximum of these infected soldiers are asymptomatic, he said.

The staff is admitted to a Delhi government isolation facility in Mandoli.

Twelve soldiers tested positive Friday and a 55-year-old deputy inspector from this unit had succumbed to the disease earlier this week.

These huge numbers in a single battalion (of more than 1,000 soldiers) have set off alarms at the establishment after it was discovered that dichotomous orders were issued to control the spread of Covid-19.

While the general order in the force was a mandatory 14-day quarantine for personnel joining the unit after leave or suspected of being exposed to a person infected with coronavirus, officials said it recently came to light that The paramilitary medical wing issued a separate document ordering in April stating that doctors and paramedics can be removed from quarantine if they show no symptoms after five days.

Authorities have indicated that the primary source of Covid-19 infection in this unit could be an agent (nursing assistant) who joined this battalion after completing his period of leave at his home at NCR.

The jawan is posted to another CRPF battalion deployed to Kupwara in Jammu-Kashmir and it is unclear how he contracted the infection. Members of this jawan's family had also tested negative. They said it might be possible that other asymptomatic personnel from the 31st Battalion were the unit's main source of infection.

The force is investigating all these angles, apart from an instance in which it was claimed that the nursing assistant was not kept under strict quarantine in the battalion camp that led to the spread of the infection.