350 police officers in quarantine to make up August 15 guard of honour

The newly built police colony at the Delhi Cantonment is largely vacant, the families are yet to move in. But 350 police personnel, from the rank of a constable to the deputy commissioner of police (DCP), are already here. Housed in different quarters, they are not allowed physical contact with the outside world. Their body temperature is measured daily, and they are checked for other symptoms of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as well. Essentially, they are in quarantine.

The officials are part of the guard of honour that will be inspected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Red Fort on August 15, the Independence Day, at a ceremony that will be attended by other dignitaries as well.

“We are adopting this for the safety of every person that day. We are taking all the necessary precautions. It has been more than eight days in quarantine. Inside the complex, our officers are following all the necessary social distancing norms. No one has shown any symptoms,” a senior police officer, who did not wish to be named, said.

Special Commissioner of Police Robin Hibu, who is overseeing the arrangements, confirmed that the officers are in quarantine but did not wish to share more details citing security reasons.

Considering the high-profile nature of the event, the police establishment is leaving nothing to chance.

“The 350 include all those who are connected to the ceremony for the guard of honour. We have a back up for every person. For example, we need only two parade commanders of the rank of DCP but four such officers are in quarantine. We do not want to take chances and are even keeping the reserve officers in quarantine. If somebody falls unwell (even due to a non-Covid issue), we want to ensure that even the reserve ones do not have any symptoms,” a senior police officer, who did not wish to be named, said.

Dr Amit Tyagi, chief medical officer of the city police’s Police Training College (PTC), said this was a necessary step.

“Police personnel come from different places. Some even live outside the state and travel to work daily using public transport. Some live in barracks at the police stations. One could catch the infection anywhere. Getting them in an isolated safe place is the best for all those present that day,” he said.

One of the quarantined officers, who did not wish to be identified, said the experience of the past eight days reminded him of his life as a trainee police officer. “We are back to hostel life as bachelors and it is fun. This reminds us of our training days. We even have Zumba classes at the quarantine centre.”

The quarantine period will, naturally, end on August 15.

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