As per the latest data, the CISF had 1,307 active cases till 10 Jan, while the total number of active cases among all paramilitary forces stood at 3,644. Officials said most infected jawans were deployed at airports in Delhi and Mumbai.
Tasked with guarding major airports in metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has been the worst-hit among paramilitary forces in the Omicron-triggered third wave of Covid-19 pandemic.
According to official data, the CISF accounts for 35 percent of all active COVID-19 cases in the paramilitary in the last four days. The force makes up 15 percent (around 10 lakh) of the total strength of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). The five forces that form the CAPF are Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
Top officials in the CISF told News18.com that most of the jawans who have tested positive for Covid-19 are deployed at airports, including in Delhi and Mumbai that have seen big surges in coronavirus infections since the beginning of the new year.
As per the latest data, the CISF had 1,307 active cases till 10 January, while the total number of active cases among all paramilitary forces stood at 3,644. Data also showed that the CISF had 379 active cases till 6 January and 485 till 7 January.
“We have been reporting a high number of Covid-19 cases in the force. It is because of our deployment at the airports. Though we take all precautions, wear masks and face shields, and make minimum contact with passengers, the numbers are still consistently high,” a senior CISF official told News18.com while sharing the data.
According to sources, the CISF headquarters, which is the office of the D-G in New Delhi, is also taking extra precautions.
According to Dr Mukesh Saxena, former ADG Medical, Home Ministry, CISF jawans are the first to get infected as they are exposed to people from abroad at airports who might be carrying the virus.
“This has been a trend. The CISF is deployed at all international airports and since this virus has travelled from abroad, they are the first contact exposed to infected passengers. This Omicron variant spreads very fast so that is the reason the CISF is facing the heat,” Dr Saxena told News18.com.
The force has reiterated sanitisation at regular intervals and is working at 50 percent staff.
Spike in CRPF and BSF too
Though the CISF tops the chart, the two largest paramilitary forces — CRPF and BSF — are also facing the brunt of the third coronavirus wave.
According to official data, the CRPF had 931 active cases till January 10 and the BSF had 619 cases. Till January 6, the CRPF had 372 active cases and the BSF had 243. It took just three days for active cases to double in the CAPF.
The situation in the ITBP, National Security Guard (NSG) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is much better as the forces have seen minimum cases. The ITBP has 249 active cases, while the NSG has 30 and the NDRF has 90, according to data compiled till January 9.
The ITBP is also responsible for handling the world’s largest Covid centre – the Sardar Patel Covid-19 centre in Delhi’s Chhatarpur area which currently is catering to 50 patients.
Prep for Omicron
Amid rising infections, the Medical Directorate has asked all forces to gather information on medicine availability, oxygen supply and stock of Remdesivir. Simultaneously, forces are gearing up for the precaution dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
All forces have been asked to prepare a list of staff to get precaution doses from January 10 after tying up with local vaccine centres. Forces have also reactivated Dedicated Covid Health Centres (DCHC).