As many as 17 Punjab Police personnel have tested positive in a random sampling of 7165 of a cross-section of cops posted in police stations and on other frontline jobs, as part of a special Covid-19 testing drive.

The Director-General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta ordered the drive amid apprehensions of a spike in cases in the wake of relaxation of the curfew in the state, and almost three months of multifarious frontline duties by around 48000 Punjab Police personnel working during the state-wide lockdown.

This translates into around 0.9 per cent positive cases of the total samples for the police force, as compared with the average of two per cent positive cases for the entire state, said Gupta.

He said the state’s higher percentage among the general population was understandable since testing of citizens is normally carried out either for symptomatic individuals or for their primary or secondary contacts, in contrast to the random exercise conducted among asymptomatic Punjab Police personnel.

The DGP disclosed that of the 17 positive cases, 14 belonged to district police, two (including a cook) were from State Armed Police or Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) and one from Punjab Home Guards (PHG). Sangrur has reported the maximum number of positive cases, said the DGP.

While 1868 of the 7165 samples collected till June 12 had tested negative, results for 5280 were pending, said Gupta adding the sampling process started on 1 June. He said all the 17 infected cops were in isolation, either in civil hospitals or in the COVID Care Centres established by the Punjab health department.

Meanwhile, a COVID positive assistant sub-inspector, with co-morbidities, was reported to be in critical condition in Amritsar City, said the DGP.  He was, however, not part of the random sampling exercise undertaken by the department, he added.

Earlier on 18 April,  Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Anil Kohli (52), who was diagnosed positive for Covid-19, had succumbed to the infection in Ludhiana.