150 cops re­cov­ered from Covid will be PM’s se­cu­rity ring

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - - Gurugram - Sune­tra Choud­hury let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com ■

AY­O­D­HYA: When Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi lands at the Saket Col­lege he­li­pad in Ut­tar Pradesh’s Ay­o­d­hya town at 11.30am on Wed­nes­day, he will have a spe­cial ring of pro­tec­tion — lo­cal po­lice per­son­nel who have re­cov­ered from the coron­avirus dis­ease (Covid-19), the state’s deputy in­spec­tor gen­eral of po­lice said on Tues­day.

The PM will spend roughly three hours in the tem­ple town for the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony of the Ram tem­ple and au­thor­i­ties are con­fi­dent that the group of 150 re­cov­ered per­son­nel — who ex­perts say de­velop an­ti­bod­ies to the dis­ease and are there­fore un­likely to con­tract the in­fec­tion or spread it , at least for

the next few months — will be cru­cial to pro­tect him from the threat of Covid-19.

“It’s in the pro­to­col for pro­tect­ing the Prime Min­is­ter that he must be guarded by healthy per­son­nel. Now what can be health­ier in these times than a Covid-19 war­rior,” said UP deputy in­spec­tor gen­eral of po­lice Deepak

It’s in the pro­to­col... that he (PM) must be guarded by healthy per­son­nel. Now what can be health­ier in these times than a Covid-19 war­rior

DEEPAK KU­MAR, deputy IGP

Ku­mar.

The re­cov­ered per­son­nel will form the first layer of pro­tec­tion for the PM in a city where the dis­ease has claimed 16 lives and where there are still 604 cases. They will also be posted at key po­si­tions in spots the PM is ex­pected to visit to en­sure that all se­cu­rity per­son­nel in Modi’s prox­im­ity are not an in­fec­tion threat.

Ku­mar said he wrote to the UP di­rec­tor gen­eral of po­lice Hitesh Chan­dra Awasthy on July 29 and made a spe­cial re­quest that around 150 UP Po­lice per­son­nel who had con­tracted the dis­ease and re­cov­ered by July 25 make their way to Ay­o­d­hya. The re­quest was al­lowed im­me­di­ately. “I had the en­tire list of all those im­pacted and the ADG (law and or­der) im­me­di­ately okayed my re­quest,” said Ku­mar. Most of the per­son­nel are from Luc­know though some are from far-off dis­tricts such as Bareilly.

The PM will visit the Hanu­man Garhi tem­ple, then make his way to the tem­ple site where he will lay the foun­da­tion of the Ram tem­ple and ad­dress 175 guests, plant a sapling and then meet mem­bers of the Shri Ram Janamb­hoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust.

Ku­mar agreed that 150 per­son­nel were not enough to pro­tect the PM in the high-pro­file event but added that the larger se­cu­rity de­tail will com­prise 400 ad­di­tional per­son­nel who have tested neg­a­tive for Covid-19 in the past 48 hours and then been iso­lated.

“Our aim is that ev­ery po­lice per­son­nel that the PM’s eyes fall on, is ei­ther a Covid-19 war­rior or has been tested in the last 48 hours,” said Ku­mar. He said that the ad­di­tional 400 per­son­nel were iso­lated ei­ther at their own homes or a quar­an­tine cen­tre at the Ram Janamb­hoomi site. While 300 of those po­lice per­son­nel were ad­min­is­tered Re­verse Tran­scrip­tion Poly­merase Chain Re­ac­tion (or RT-PCR) tests, the rest were given rapid anti­gen tests.

The de­ci­sion came a day af­ter a sec­ond priest at the ex­ist­ing makeshift Ram tem­ple tested pos­i­tive for Covid-19 and au­thor­i­ties ex­pressed con­cern that lo­cal res­i­dents were flout­ing so­cial dis­tanc­ing guide­lines. Last week, a ju­nior priest and four other per­son­nel were found to be in­fected with the virus that has claimed 1,800 lives in the state.

To com­bat the threat of the in­fec­tion, au­thor­i­ties have de­cided on a strict pro­to­col that in­cludes test­ing all guests, en­forc­ing wear­ing of masks and seal­ing the district bor­ders so that peo­ple from out­side can­not gather at the site. The gov­ern­ment has also ap­pealed to lo­cal res­i­dents to re­main at home and fol­low the event on tele­vi­sion.

”We are con­fi­dent now that no one will be in­fected be­cause we have tested any­one who will come within eight feet of a VIP,” said district mag­is­trate Anuj Jha, who is also a mem­ber of the tem­ple trust.

Jha added that even peo­ple who put up the tents where the event will hap­pen and the driv­ers of mo­tor­cades have been tested and found neg­a­tive. ”Ev­ery­one will wear a mask, ev­ery­one will main­tain so­cial dis­tanc­ing and it’s go­ing to be fine,” he said.

Peo­ple who have re­cov­ered from Covid-19 have in­creased im­mu­nity against re­in­fec­tion be­cause an­ti­bod­ies de­velop in their bod­ies that pro­tect them in the event of any fu­ture ex­po­sure to the Sars-Cov-2 virus, at least tem­po­rar­ily.

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