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Police cluster on cards? 62 cops infected with COVID-19

Despite taking precautions in the form of masks, gloves, suits, face shields, sanitisers, soaps and disinfectants, the first line of defence against COVID-19 seems to be collapsing with the number of police personnel who contracted the virus crossing the 60 mark so far in Chennai alone.

Police cluster on cards? 62 cops infected with COVID-19
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Protective equipment provided to cops.

Chennai

As on Friday, 62 personnel and 18 Fire and Rescue personnel tested positive in Chennai. According to a senior police officer, just masks and gloves are not going to ensure 100% protection. “We tend to feel that it would protect us from the virus. But not always,” the officer noted.

During the shutdown, 60 per cent of the police strength was used for corona-related duties. They had to regulate movement of public in containment and non-containment areas, deal with protesting migrant labourers, prevent shops from overcrowding and regulate social distancing besides escorting bodies of COVID-19 patients to crematoriums and burial grounds. More recently, they were seen in face-off situations outside Tasmac outlets too.

“A common man under lockdown may not have even seen a COVID-19 patient except on TV. But I, being a police officer, might have interacted with dozens of them. We are present in containment zones, at homes and also in hospitals,” noted another officer, adding, continuous exposure at containment zones is very risky.

According to senior police officers, most men in khakhi got exposed in containment areas, at the Koyambedu market and also while escorting arrested Tablighi Jamath members. “The possibility of getting infected is high if you interact regularly with COVID patients,” another senior officer observed.

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