Punjab police personnel bear brunt of pandemic

More than 100 officials went into isolation after contracting coronavirus

Nouman Sheikh May 31, 2020
An AFP file image.

LAHORE: As many as 115 of the more than 1,000 personnel of Lahore police tested for coronavirus have been confirmed as infected so far, while 61 have recovered and resumed their duties.

“Coronavirus epidemic has gripped Lahore police after Eid and the number of patients has begun to increase day by day,” Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Zulfiqar Hameed told The Express Tribune.

Reportedly, more than 100 police personnel, including some senior officers, went into isolation after contracting the virus. Other officers began to prefer to stay in the field instead of offices.

The CCPO said that out of all the departments working on the front line against the pandemic, Lahore police were the most affected by the virus, but still they were putting all the risks aside and ensuring security and safety of the citizens.

He said three police personnel named Shams, Ramzan Alam and Rao Javed had been martyred due to coronavirus.

SSP Administration Malik Liaqat from the CCPO office was also been infected by coronavirus but he recovered and resumed his duty immediately after Eid.

The SP Security in the DIG's office also contracted the virus immediately after Eid and went into isolation. After this, more than 100 personnel serving at the office were tested and their reports are yet to come.

DIG Operations Rai Babar Saeed stopped the officials who showed symptoms of coronavirus to attend the office till their test reports were received, while the whole premises were disinfected.

Saeed, SSP Operations Faisal Shehzad and Chief Traffic Officer Syed Hamad Abid preferred to stay in the field instead of offices due to the rising cases of coronavirus among police officers.

The entry of complainants in the offices has also been stopped until further notice. Only the necessary office staff are called for work.

After the confirmation of the virus in the City Division SP investigation, Samnabad DSP, Qila Gujar Singh SHO, Baghbanpura SHO and Defence investigation in-charge who are already in the field, all SPs, DSPs, SHOs and officials in charge of investigations preferred to stay in the field instead of offices and police stations.

On the order of the DIG operation, the SHOs have been hearing complainants outside the police stations after contacting them.

SP Headquarters Jamil Zafar told The Express Tribune that the personnel deployed in Police Lines in Qila Gujar Singh were most likely to be affected by the pandemic as contingents were being sent to all hospitals, quarantine centres and sensitive locations from there. “But the situation is still under control,” he said.

He maintained that coronavirus has been confirmed in about 70 personnel in the Police Lines, of whom about 30 had recovered.

“The personnel in Police Lines are being tested daily by the staff of the health department, while they are performing duty with full safety equipment,” said Zafar.

He highlighted that when the officials returned from duty, they immediately passed through the sanitiser gate, washed their hands and took off their safety kits.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2020.

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