Police on frontline in Covid-19 battle

From patient transfer to burial, area SHO takes charge of responsibilities

Nouman Sheikh May 10, 2020
Giving them this status will allow compensation for families, says Karachi police chief. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Lahore. Lahore police are facing the challenge of ensuring precautionary measures and awareness among the personnel while playing their frontline role in the fight against coronavirus.

Policemen, along with health department employees are involved in shifting the Covid-19 infected patients to the hospital.

Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore Zulfiqar Hameed told The Express Tribune that the police had cordoned off at least 200 areas in the city to prevent citizens from traveling unnecessarily during the lockdown.

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The CCPO asserted that the department has provided sanitisers and complete safety gear including gloves and face masks to the personnel deployed at the check posts.

“Police are on the frontline with doctors in the fight against the pandemic,” he remarked.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Rai Babar Saeed has been supervising the police for the implementation of the government enforced lockdown.

Speaking to The Express Tribune he said that 10 police officers were selected from each division of Lahore including personnel from the Police Response Unit and Dolphin Force.

These personnel were then trained to deal with pandemic related emergencies by King Edward College Professor Arif Rashid in Police Lines Qila Gujar Singh, he added.

DIG operations explained that in the first phase the police personnel have been asked to get thoroughly prepared when they receive a call from the health department and immediately leave to transfer the Covid-19 patient to the hospital.

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“Officers are required to wear complete safety gear and keep sanitisers and soaps in the police mobile.”

Additionally, they are expected to follow the instructions of the health department staff when they go to the house of the coronavirus infected patient. It is also mandatory that they take an ambulance with them for the safe transfer of patient.

Safety protocol also dictates that the police officers ‘should not enter the house under any circumstances’ and maintain a distance of at least six feet from the patient when he leaves the premises.

It has been advised that the patient should be asked to settle inside the ambulance by themselves after which a police squad would accompany them to the hospital.

In the second stage, if the infected person dies at the hospital, Rai Babar Saeed said the responsibility for burial also lies with the police according to the government orders.

The hospitals have been directed by the government to report a Covid-19 patient’s death to police through 15 emergency helpline; following which the police control room reports it to the concerned division and the divisional superintendent of police (SP) provides the residential address of the deceased to the SHO of the area.

Police then contact the deceased’s family and seek information about their whereabouts.

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Then on, the SHO first prepares the burial site and then transfers the corpse, wrapped in plastic and placed inside an ambulance in a casket by health department officials, to the cemetery where the relatives are already present.

The trained officials lower the body into the grave while the relatives conduct the funeral prayers at a distance of at least 40 metres.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) operations Faisal Shahzad urged the citizens to respect and facilitate the police as they fulfill their responsibilities.

“Do not ask the police to uncover the face of the deceased as it can causes spread of the virus,” he warned.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2020.

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