COVID: Centre asks states to prepare second line of defence with home guards, NCC cadets others

COVID: Centre asks states to prepare second line of defence with home guards, NCC cadets others
(Eds: Updating with details)

New Delhi, May 3 () Concerned over scores of frontline security personnel catching the COVID-19 disease, the Centre has suggested to states to prepare an effective second line of defence by deploying home guards, civil defence and NCC cadets among others wherever feasible to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

In a communication to all states and UTs, the Ministry of Home Affairs said the police chiefs may consider the option of 'work from home' for personnel not deployed on the frontline, and wherever possible.

"To meet the challenge of COVID-19, and to ensure sustainment of control strategy for COVID- 19, police forces need to prepare an effective second line of defence to make up for the police personnel who may be rendered ineffective due to COVID infection during the pandemic," the ministry said.


Over 200 central paramilitary personnel have been infected with COVID-19 till now, with a 55-year-old CRPF man succumbing to the disease last week.

At least three police personnel of different state police forces have also died because of the virus.

The home ministry said police authorities should strictly apply self-quarantine rules to its members, when needed, as per the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry.


The home ministry said the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is a global health crisis which has affected a huge population the world over.

The virus which causes the disease is highly infectious and even pre-symptomatic people can infect others.

Any person who is in close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, breathing difficulty, etc.) is at risk of contracting the disease.


The home ministry said the police and security personnel are among the frontline workers performing duties to implement lockdown orders and government guidelines for containing the spread of the disease.

Since they have to interact with the public on a daily basis, they are likely to be more vulnerable to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

"Instances have been noticed of police and security personnel getting infected. Hence, it is imperative to make police personnel aware of the precautions to be taken while performing their assigned tasks in order to ensure that the strategy adopted for containing COVID-19 spread remains sustainable," it said.


In view of such cases, it is considered expedient to issue the guidelines to reiterate the precautions and measures to be taken, it said.

The home ministry said police authorities may take necessary precautions to sanitise the physical environment at the place of duty of police and security personnel.

Police or security personnel may be advised to keep themselves safe by practicing proper hygiene and physical distancing, it advised.


Police authorities should also take care of safety and hygiene of its personnel by providing all necessary materials like hand sanitizers, soaps, masks, face shield, gloves, safe food, etc. and also train the personnel in their proper usage and disposal, the ministry said.

It said home guards, civil defence, NCC cadets, Scouts and Guides and Student Police Cadets may be utilised in areas where there are not imminent law and order issues.

They can especially be of help in maintaining order at the relief centres and in facilitating the maintenance of supply chain and for coordinating other essential services, according to the ministry.


While performing COVID-related duties, police and security personnel should help general public and deal with them with empathy and compassion especially with the weaker sections of the society. They should monitor religious and social congregations during festivals to ensure social distancing, it said.

Police should also be watchful of migrant labourers and slums to contain any unexpected and undesirable mass movement, it said, adding most state polices have already set up Control Rooms.

It is reiterated that control rooms are the nerve centres of policing and must monitor, round the clock, the minutest concerns of policing during the pandemic, it said.


The control rooms may be expanded, resourced and designed to incorporate special COVID-19 Cells, to exclusively look after all issues relating to the pandemic.

The staff manning these cells should be trained on elementary modules relating to the epidemic and briefed about appropriate responses to help engage with issues and scenarios they are likely to be confronted with, the ministry said.

Such cells should be adequately equipped with men and material, including drones which may be used for aerial reconnaissance, if required on urgent basis. ACB TIRTIR

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