Concern over health of police personnel in Maharashtra, Gujarat amid Covid crisis

While shortage of personal protective equipment has made the fight tougher, police personnel have also been finding it arduous to get tested. The two states, however, are now putting more focus on the health of their police forces to prepare them ...

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Mumbai | Gandhinagar: Head constable Vishnu Chauhan of the Ahmedabad Traffic Police, who was posted in the eastern part of the city that is a Covid-19 hotspot, started feeling unwell on May 10, with throat ache and fever.

“In spite of repeatedly telling the doctor at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital about my posting and that I was feeling uneasy, the doctor said that under the new guidelines, testing for corona was not needed,” Chauhan told ET. He said he later got a test done from a private lab, paying Rs 4,500, and the result was positive.

Chauhan didn’t get admission at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Hospital as there were no vacant beds. At the Civil Hospital, doctors suggested that he quarantine himself at home.While timely intervention by his seniors helped Chauhan get treatment, 32-year-old Mumbai Police sub inspector Amol Kulkarni wasn’t that lucky.


On May 13, Kulkarni who had a history of high blood pressure, complained of cold and fever. His swab samples were collected at KEM Hospital, but he wasn’t admitted to the hospital. Around 5 am last Saturday, he was found lying unconscious on the bathroom floor at home. He was declared brought dead at the hospital. Chauhan and Kulkarni are among many policemen and women who have contracted the infection while fighting the pandemic in Maharashtra and Gujarat, two of the worst hit states.

While shortage of personal protective equipment has made the fight tougher, police personnel have also been finding it arduous to get tested. The two states, however, are now putting more focus on the health of their police forces to prepare them for the long haul.

According to the Maharashtra police, as on Friday, 15 men and an officer had succumbed to the disease. As many as 1,666 personnel have tested positive and 473 of them have recovered. In Mumbai, once the numbers started soaring and a few casualties were reported in the police force, personnel aged above 55 years were sent on leave.
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Now, that list includes those above the age of 50 years and having ailments like diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Pregnant women and staff below 50 years but having any other ailments or symptoms of Covid-19 too can take leave. In Ahmedabad, which has recorded most of the cases in Gujarat, 63 police personnel have contracted the infection and two have succumbed to the disease.
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