A police study has found that the general ill-health of personnel is the main reason for the significant number of coronavirus deaths among the Mumbai force as compared to other units.
According to a report in The Times of India, the police department has advised that younger cops from the force be stationed for coronavirus duty in locations like containment zones as well as hotspots, as their rate of recovery is higher than that of older personnel.
Naval Bajaj, joint commissioner of police (administration) told the publication that owing to the long duty hours, bad diet, living conditions and lack of exercise, many police personnel were always on the edge even during normal situations.
"Many of the cops who died had comorbidities and hence we want to improve the general health of the constabulary so that they will be in a better position to fight various diseases,” Bajaj was quoted as saying.
The report added that infection is contracted owing to persistent exposure to high viral load and so, the police personnel must be deployed in a rotational manner, wherein they alternate between high and low-risk duty.
It further suggests the provision of interceding periods of rest for two to three days to allow the body time to recover. Bajaj added that the same police staff must not be stationed in containment zones for three days in a row and must be given adequate rest on day three.
According to the study, the armed police is the hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with personnel from several police stations falling ill. Additionally, with those aged 55 and over or those with pre-existing conditions being sent on leave, cops from the armed police were deployed on regular police duty, including frontline areas.
However, in a silver lining, the rate of recovery has been high as the department is relatively young. But this is not the case with the traffic branch.
“The traffic police did not get replacements from armed police or motor transport. Also, the general health of traffic cops is very poor due to the harsh nature of their duties, including pollution and physical exertion,” Bajaj was quoted as saying by ToI.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 tally in Maharashtra climbed to 3,91,440 on Tuesday with addition of 7,717 new cases while the death toll mounted by 282, including 121 fatalities in Mumbai region, to 14,165, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.
A total of 10,333 patients were discharged in the day, taking the number of recovered cases in the state to 2,32,277, he said.