Coronavirus outbreak: Experts tell Mumbai Police to take extra care, follow norms
BL Soni

Mumbai Police have started counselling its personnel about the precautions to be taken amid the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus pandemic, after it was observed that a number of personnel, who are above 55 years of age and were sent on mandatory leave were succumbing to the virus. During these counselling sessions, the personnel are advised to maintain as much social distancing as possible and avoid stepping out of the house unless necessary.

On April 28, the Commissioner of Police (CP), Mumbai had asked its personnel who are above 55 years of age to go on a mandatory leave and stay at home as a precautionary measure to protect them after deadly Covid-19 claimed lives of three policemen on duty. Even after this decision was brought into force, it was observed that many policemen who had comorbidities and were on leave, contracted COVID-19 and subsequently succumbed.

Till Sunday, over 48 deaths were reported in the Mumbai Police force, raising a red flag on the safety measures practiced by the personnel. In a bid to ensure the safety and good health of its personnel, Mumbai Police have roped in experts to brief its men on the precautionary measures required while entering the congested, containment areas as well as maintain social distancing not only out on the field, but also inside their house, said a senior police official.

Policemen, who have been sent on mandatory leaves owing to their vulnerable age and comorbidities, have been reporting to their workplace despite strict orders to stay at home, claiming they are fine and want to return to duty. To ensure that these policemen are occupied and feel included in the force amid this pandemic, they will be allowed to work from home and do the paperwork, rather than going out on the field.

"This way, the personnel will work as well as remain in their comfort zone, safe. Moreover, they will be called to the police station once in 10 days, where they will be treated with care and will not feel left out," said the official while requesting confidentiality. The decision to rope in counselling experts was deemed necessary after it was observed that policemen on leave were wandering out and about, visiting family and eventually contracting the virus.

A 49-year-old traffic constable, who had been on leave due to his comorbidities, was often visited by his son-in-law, who is also a policeman, to check up on him. However, since the son-in-law was on active duty, he contracted the virus and it is suspected that he passed on the same to the traffic constable. After the constable was tested positive for COVID-19 on May 21, he succumbed to the virus on June 1.

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