Quarantine within units, extended leave mark Armed Forces' war on Covid-19

More than three months after the appearance of the coronavirus in the Chinese province of Wuhan, India is on alert as the pathogen moves from one state to another. The Ministry of Health, which is leading the charge of the pandemic, has recruited the first responder to the crisis in the armed forces.

While the Indian army was the first to establish a quarantine facility at Manesar, which has since been increased to five across India, a positive case in the Ladakh scout regiment sounded the alarm in the corridors defense. The 34-year-old soldier from the village of Chuhot in Leh contacted his father, who returned from a pilgrimage to Iran on an Air India flight on February 20 and tested positive for COVID-19 .

As a result of this development, several political decisions were taken by the forces to ensure the safety of men and women in uniform.

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The military has ordered that leave for jawans and officers be extended beyond March 21 due to the current crisis. PRO Defense, Rajasthan, Colonel Sombit Ghosh said the decision was made at army headquarters and that while some returning soldiers were allowed to join their units, others were on leave extension course. Regarding the military quarantine facility, Col Ghosh said: “In Jaisalmer, an army quarantine facility has been put in place and Indians evacuated from several countries are being watched here. The Indians were airlifted to the quarantine facility in three batches of 236, 53 and 195. A total of 484 Indians are quarantined at the military welfare facility, “said Colonel Ghosh .

The military has ordered the leave for jawans and officers extended. PTI

The military, which has been continuously engaged in awareness campaigns across the country, is seeing its role expanded to raise awareness of the ongoing viral respiratory illness and isolation services have been established in all military hospitals with a team of medical specialists on standby. In the meantime, all non-essential personnel movements have been suspended. The military has advised personnel to limit interaction with civilians and to remain vigilant.

An officer posted in Punjab told Business Standard that a quarantine facility has been put in place and that anyone returning from leave must be quarantined for 14 days in the unit. The units procure handwashes, masks, disinfectants for the troops, and all personnel have been instructed to wash their hands regularly and report any symptoms immediately.

Army HQ has banned foreign travel, including private travel, until further notice and has ordered office congestion and continuous surveillance. Seminars, conferences and exercises with foreign countries are also canceled. Reducing the workforce in order to practice social distancing, the Army ordered that 35% of officers and 50% of junior officers (JCO) at headquarters take turns to work from home for a week starting March 23. The second group of officers and JCOs will be quarantined at home on March 30.

CRPF

The military has advised personnel to limit interaction with civilians and to remain vigilant. PTI

Meanwhile, similar instructions have been issued by the Indian Air Force (IAF), confirmed an officer of the rank of flight lieutenant, saying the bases are in a state of lockdown and the entry of civilians has been restricted . Staff were advised to stay on the bases. The IAF also canceled interviews with the Service Selection Board (SSB) until further notice and urged applicants to contact their respective counsel.

The Indian Air Force has so far evacuated 1,059 civilians from Iran, China, Italy and Japan and has quarantined them at bases in Manesar, Hindan, Ghatkopar, Mumbai and Jaisalmer.

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The Indian Navy has set up a quarantine camp aboard INS Vishwakarma in Vishakhapatnam, equipped to accommodate nearly 200 people. He also set up isolation facilities at the INHS Asvini in Mumbai. Kochi Naval Base, under the command of the Southern Naval Command (SNC), is preparing to provide quarantine facilities for civilians while coordinating the health services of the State of Kerala and the administration of the Ernakulam district.

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