Two army soldiers test positive for Covid-19

Updated on Mar 29, 2020 11:10 PM IST

Army has taken several measures to prevent the spread of the disease in its ranks.

Army chief has asked for strict adherence to measures announced to prevent the spread of coronavirus(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Army chief has asked for strict adherence to measures announced to prevent the spread of coronavirus(Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

Two soldiers, including an army doctor, tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday at a time the force is taking aggressive measures to tackle the spread of the disease within its ranks, two army officers said on condition of anonymity.

While the doctor is a colonel posted at the Kolkata-based Eastern Command hospital, the other soldier is a junior commissioned officer in Dehradun, said the first officer cited above.

“Both had history of domestic travel in the first/second week of March. Necessary contact tracing is being done and identified persons have been quarantined. The two affected persons are keeping good health and are stable,” said the second officer cited above.

The colonel, 52, travelled from New Delhi to Kolkata by flight on March 17 and showed symptoms of Covid-19 a few days ago after which he was tested and found to be positive. The JCO, who is 47, travelled from Delhi to Jhunjhunu on February 25 and from Jhunjhunu to Chakrata near Dehradun on March 10.

He was admitted to a hospital in Chakrata on March 25 after he showed symptoms and shifted to the military hospital in Dehradun on March 26.

The two new cases come days after a 34-year-old soldier tested positive for coronavirus in Leh on March 18, becoming the first case in the army. The soldier from Ladakh Scouts has recovered.

In an address to soldiers on the Covid-19 outbreak on March 27, army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said it was important for them to stay fit and remain away from coronavirus if they have to help the countrymen in these serious times.

Naravane asked them to strictly adhere to a string of preventive measures circulated by the army to stop the spread of the disease. The army has asked its units across the country to strictly adhere to protocols for containing the spread of Covid-19, with guidelines being issued almost every second day reiterating measures to fight the spread of infection.

On March 26, Naravane said that the army is undertaking its operational tasks like before and the Covid-19 outbreak has not hit its preparedness. He said that Covid-19 was in the initial stage of impact in India and the country was making concerted efforts to prevent the disease from establishing a firm base.

“There are contingency plans in place and spread of Covid-19 will not affect the core efficiency of the army. The temporary phase of postponing our routine activities will soon be overcome by rescheduling them as and when the situation stabilises. As of now our focus will be to combat Covid-19 aggressively,” the chief had said.

The army, which is at the forefront of the country’s fight against the pandemic, has taken a raft of preventive measures to stop the spread of the infection within its ranks.

These measures include cancellation of all non-essential training, conferences and travel, a freeze on postings and foreign assignments, avoiding any assembly that involves more than 50 personnel, postponing all courses for officers and encouraging personnel to work from home wherever possible.

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