CRPF Sub-inspector Dies of Coronavirus in Delhi, 44 Others from Battalion Test Positive

CRPF Sub-inspector Dies of Coronavirus in Delhi, 44 Others from Battalion Test Positive

New Delhi: A pall of gloom enveloped the CRPF 31st Battalion headquarters located in Delhi’s Mayur Vihar after a sub-inspector from the para-military force succumbed to Covid-19 while another 43 from the battalion have been put under quarantine.

The deceased’s family is in Barpeta, Assam, and may not be able to pay their last respects to him. “Post mortem and embalming of a Covid-19 patient is not being done. In the absence of it, transportation of mortal remains to Assam is not possible,” a CRPF official told CNN-News18.

Mohammed Irfan Khan, a 55-year-old sub-inspector with the 31st battalion, breathed his last at the Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday. He is survived by his wife and son. The CRPF has contacted his brother who lives in Delhi for final rites.

It is suspected that Khan caught the virus from a head constable who had joined 31st battalion as a nursing attendant. “There seem to be some lapses in quarantine and social distancing norms that were followed in the mess and barracks,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

The nursing attendant is posted in 162 battalion of CRPF in Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir. He was on leave when the lockdown was announced. The medical directorate of CRPF gave orders that medical staff who were stuck because of the lockdown could join the nearest unit. The head constable, a resident of Noida joined the 31st battalion in Mayur Vihar on April 7.

“We put him in quarantine when he joined but then the medical directorate issued an order reducing the number of days in quarantine. That order meant the paramedic started mingling with the rest of the unit,” DG CRPF AP Maheshwari said.

Another CRPF official clarified the sequence of events. “On 17th, he started showing symptoms. He was tested and on 19th, his reports came. The next day, he was taken to the Rajiv Gandhi Hospital, Rohini, where he is still undergoing treatment,” he said.

Family members of the nursing attendant have tested negative and it is still being investigated as to how he caught the infection.

Ministry of Home Affairs, meanwhile, has asked Maheshwari to explain how more than 40 personnel caught the virus. Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted on Tuesday, “Saddened at the demise of the CRPF Sub Inspector Mohammed Ikram Khan. His contribution to internal security inspires the entire country.” Shah said he spoke to Khan’s family on Sunday.

The CRPF itself has asked the medical directorate why the quarantine period was reduced, risking lives of so many personnel. “We have called for an explanation from medical directorate and also referred the matter to ADG Medical, MHA,” Maheshwari told CNN-News18.

Forty-seven CRPF personnel have tested positive for coronavirus so far, with 45 in Mayur Vihar alone. One Rapid Action Force constable and a personnel in Ahmedabad have also tested positive. Twelve personnel in Mayur Vihar who came in contact with the nursing attendant tested positive on Tuesday. “80% of the personnel who came in contact with the nursing attendant have tested positive. All of them have been sent to Mandoli for treatment. Others are in our quarantine facility in Narela,” officials said.

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