COVID-19 on the rise among police personnel, with many having reported mild symptoms earlier this month
Young constable B. Ramki, 28, seldom forgets to take two things — a thermoscanner and a log book — before he leaves his house in Karukaputhoor village, near Vellore.
He rides a moped to the police housing quarters near Circuit House, a posh neighbourhood in the town. The quarters is his workplace. His job is to take the temperature and other health details of the occupants before putting them down in his log book, twice a day. Mr. Ramki is among 17 policemen, mostly constables, who have been on the job since Monday to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among police personnel and their families. The infection is also on the rise among police personnel, with many having reported mild symptoms earlier this month.
In fact, many personnel in the Sathuvachari, North Vellore town, Pallikonda, South Vellore town, Gudiyatham town police stations have reported mild symptoms over the past few days. This has necessitated such an initiative. “With this, we monitor the health status of our police personnel and their families on a daily basis. The feedback helps us to attend to any health emergencies to our personnel,” S. Rajesh Kannan, SP (Vellore), told The Hindu. Divided into teams of four, the policemen take care of at least 60 families in the housing quarters. Each housing quarters, on an average, has at least four blocks with more than 100 housing units each. Most of these quarters are alloted to constables and sub-inspectors of various wings, including the Armed Reserve, law and order, traffic and crime. More than 1,200 families stay in the quarters, which are spread across the district in Gudiyatham, Katpadi, Pallikonda, Vellore Old Town, K.V. Kuppam and Tiruvalam.
“We ensure our safety by wearing masks, gloves and maintaining physical distancing during health surveys in the quarters. On an average, it takes at least three hours to cover 60 houses in the quarters,” said S. Arun, a constable from the Gudiyatham town police station. The assigned policemen for the job have to check the temperature of all family members, including the children, in the quarters.
Apart from personal details, they have to check for symptoms like cough, cold, fever and sore throat and record it in their log books. These details are kept track of in a separate WhatsApp group created by the District Police Headquarters. The chief surgeon and a team of doctors at the Police Hospital in Vellore also get a copy of the data on a daily basis to monitor the status of the police personnel and their families. The infected individuals are home quarantined as necessary.
The district administrations in Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Ranipet and Tirupattur have issued an order increasing the fine for not wearing masks in public places from ₹200 to ₹500. Special teams have been formed to ensure compliance to the guidelines in public places.
Vegetable traders staged a road roko in Tiruvannamalai town against a move to relocate them to the playground of the Government Boys Higher Secondary School as a temporary arrangement to prevent crowding during the festival weekend. Tiruvannamalai SP A. Pavan Kumar Reddy and officials spoke with the protestors and allowed them to run their shops in the existing spot only on January 14.