Eighty-five jawans of the Border Security Force (BSF) have tested positive for coronavirus including a significant number of those posted for law and order duties in old Delhi areas, officials said on Wednesday. The new cases - the highest spike in the force since the beginning of the pandemic - have taken the overall infected cases in the 2.5 lakh-strong force to 154.
Two jawans among these have recovered.
The tally includes over 60 troops who were deployed for law and order duties in Jamia and Chandni Mahal areas of the national capital in March, they said.
About 30 of them have now been sent to Jodhpur in Rajasthan and admitted to an isolation facility of the force while the rest are admitted to the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) Referral hospital in Greater Noida.
Six jawans escorting the inter-ministerial central team (IMCT), which toured West Bengal to check COVID-19 containment measures in the state, have also tested positive for the disease, the officials said.
At least 37 infected personnel are from the Tripura frontier of the force where it guards over 800 km of the 4,096 km India-Bangladesh border.
Most of the personnel in Tripura are asymptomatic and the troops have been in their camp since it was found that a jawan who came back from leave could have contracted the infection from outside, a senior BSF officer said.
A BSF spokesperson in Delhi said all the troops who contracted the disease were "performing essential and operational duties and that is how they contracted the infection".
There were 69 cases of BSF personnel testing positive till Tuesday and with the addition of new cases the total stands at 154.
The force is primarily tasked to guard Indian fronts with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The force headquarters in Delhi, whose two floors were sealed early this week for sanitisation, is "functional" from Wednesday, the spokesperson said.
A jawan posted in the staff of an Additional Director General (ADG) rank officer at the headquarters had tested positive early this week.
The second floor of the building was, however, not opened on Wednesday.
(With inputs from PTI)