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Covid-19 outbreak: Indian Army readies duty, contingency plan

While the nationwide lockdown has ensured a clampdown on the movement of troops, it has also led to the formations and military stations reducing contact with civilians, including workers. Some units have ensured that they have isolated themselves from the outside environment and other units as well.

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2020, 12.04 PM IST
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Some units have ensured that they have isolated themselves from the outside environment and other units as well.

Coronavirus

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NEW DELHI: In view of the coronavirus outbreak, army formations have prioritised essential activities that are necessary for its functioning, while some have contemplated different scenarios of possible contingencies of the disease spreading among its troops and are implementing precautions for countering it.

While the nationwide lockdown has ensured a clampdown on the movement of troops, it has also led to the formations and military stations reducing contact with civilians, including workers. Some units have ensured that they have isolated themselves from the outside environment and other units as well. Isolation of troops within a unit has also taken place by following social distancing norms, ensuring regular sanitation and dividing troops into groups that maintain distance from each other while carrying out their activities. Most units are following such measures.

Some units have even thought of different scenarios of an outbreak, such as outside the unit lines, within the unit while it remains detected, keeping in mind that the virus can be asymptomatic, and detection within the unit. Some of the preventive measures being thought of during such possible contingencies are not allowing civilians to enter the unit lines, sanisiting persons and vehicles, maintenance of distance between individuals and groups, avoiding interactions, keeping markets out of bounds, reporting sick if there are symptoms and establishing different barracks for troops.

On deciding what activities are necessary due to the current situation, an official on condition of anonymity said, “all activities that are essential for the daily functioning of a unit have been termed as essential. The army has left it on the units and formations to decide what is essential and what is not.”

Some preventive measures, for example taken by a particular unit, to cut off from the outside world are not allowing the entry of civilian vendors and sanitising the main gates every few hours. Officials said this is important if coronavirus cases come up near formations. While leaves of those who are already on leave have been extended, troops returning from temporary duty will follow a laid down drill for sanitisation and checking symptoms before being taken away for isolation.

For preventing a contagion within a unit, troops have been divided into small teams that will maintain a distance of 500 m, while training, eating and living separately. Different barracks have also been identified for different teams. Only one team can be at a particular part of the training area at a time, officials said.

If a suspected or positive case has been detected, the particular team will be identified and separated, and medical tests of all its members will be detected.
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