A total of 72 personnel of the Maharashtra police have tested positive of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, leading to increased security issues for the state government. Amongst those infected, seven are police officers whilst the rest are police personnel.
In total, 786 police personnel have tested positive, with 88 of those being police officers. On Friday, an assistant sub-inspector attached to Vinoba Bhave Nagar police station in Mumbai died. He tested positive for novel coronavirus, officials said on Saturday. He died in the early hours of Friday after being admitted in a civic hospital on Wednesday with COVID-19-like symptoms, an official said. "He was also a diabetic. His samples returned positive on Friday evening. This is the fourth COVID-19 death in Mumbai police. Some 350 personnel in the metropolis' force have tested positive for the virus so far," he added.
The increasing infections amongst the forces has put the state government on an alert and given it another troubling issue.
With 20,228 cases, Maharashtra continues to be the worst affected state in the country. The state has recorded 779 deaths.
On Friday, Maharashtra Chief Minsiter Uddhav Thackeray played down the rumors of the army stepping in to ensure security in the state. However, he did state that if the cases amongst the forces increase, the state will have to ask the Centre for additional force. "Uddhav Thackeray remarked, "During the last 2-3 days, there is a rumour doing the rounds in Mumbai that Army will take control of the city, there will be a lockdown and all shops shall be closed. Why do you need the Army? Till now, I have done everything taking you into confidence. I will continue doing so. I had told you initially- that you all are the jawans in this battle. The Army will not come to Mumbai."
He added, "The police personnel are getting tired under pressure. Some of them have fallen ill or have passed away. I have a thought in my mind regarding this. We may ask the Centre to provide additional forces if the police personnel need to be rested in rotation."