Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang said that 466 members of the state police department have contracted the coronavirus so far, and one person has succumbed to the disease. Addressing the media in Vizag on Sunday, the DGP said that the number of cases among police personnel, as among the general population, have shot up since the lockdown was relaxed about a month ago.
Stating that until June 3, there were 45 COVID-19 cases among state police personnel, of which one person had become a â€śmartyr who had laid down his life in this COVID-19 war.â€ť He added that all the remaining 44 personnel had tested negative for the virus and been discharged by then. However, with the lockdown being lifted, within the last one month alone the department has seen 421 cases of infection, the DGP said.
â€śCops are contending on the frontline with this virus at every stage. From checkposts to regulation, any movement on the ground, itâ€™s the police which is at the forefront, and in the process, we have such infections among police,â€ť Gautam Sawang said, adding that measures have been taken by the department to protect the staff, including keeping personnel above 55 years of age or having comorbid conditions away from frontline duties with more risk of exposure.
Sawang was on a brief visit to Visakhapatnam, where he has reportedly visited the proposed sites allotted for the Greyhounds training centre coming up in the district. While his visits to identify police department lands gave rise to speculation that the visit was in preparation for the impending shift of the capital from Amaravati to Vizag, Sawang reportedly declined to comment on the shift but stated that the police department would be prepared for such a scenario.
Sawang also said that he reviewed the police preparedness in general and in terms of tackling â€śleft-wing extremismâ€ť in Vizag city and the surrounding north-coastal Andhra region.