More than 84,000 Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel have tested positive for Covid-19 so far, and 331 have succumbed to the virus, data from the Union Home Ministry show.
More than 35 per cent of infections and almost 40 per cent of deaths occurred in the period beginning from the third week of March, when the second wave of the pandemic started to pick up.
The largest numbers of infections and deaths have been seen in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the largest of the CAPFs.
Of the total 84,045 CAPF personnel infected with the virus from the beginning of the epidemic early last year to July 6 this year, 24,840 belonged to the CRPF. The CRPF has lost 125 of its personnel to Covid-19.
Why forces are vulnerable
Approximately 9 lakh CAPF personnel are deployed across the length and breadth of the country. The fact that they stay in barracks, with shared living and meal areas, makes them especially vulnerable. An officer said that training centres too are vulnerable because “the entire batch stays, eats, and does all its work together”. The armed forces too have seen almost 45,000 cases and around 120 deaths from Covid.
The Border Security Force (BSF) reported 22,978 cases and 90 deaths during the same period, and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) reported 19,676 cases and 76 deaths, according to Home Ministry dat0a.
In roughly a year from the time the epidemic hit India in 2020 to March 23 this year, 53,343 CAPF…