121 jawans of the Border Security Force or BSF are recovering from coronavirus in Tripura after a series of fresh cases surfaced from three battalions of the BSF in the last one week. 17 more jawans were tested positive on Saturday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in Tripura to 134. This is the highest number of coronavirus cases reported by any state in northeast India.
Nine others are also related to the BSF unit; one is a truck driver.
The massive spike in the number of COVID-19 cases has prompted the Biplab Kumar Deb-led state government to re-think its strategy in the fight against coronavirus.
The state government is considering setting up a fully dedicated COVID-19 hospital. A state-run youth hostel is set to be turned into a 300-bed coronavirus treatment center.
According to government sources, Tripura now has 410 beds for treatment of COVID-19 patients, including 80 beds at GB Pant Hospital and 30 beds at IGM Hospital, which are the two main hospitals in the state.
According to an official statement, the fresh COVID-19 cases have been reported by the BSF's 86th battalion and 138th battalion at Ambassa in Dhalai district, about 90 km from state capital Agartala.
On Friday, another unit of the BSF- the 3rd battalion located at Dhalaighat village close to Kamalpur town - was also declared 'Containment zone' a day after one of its personnel tested positive for coronavirus.
The state government has already urged the BSF to conduct an inquiry into how the virus has spread among its men.
The BSF guards the 856 km-long border that Tripura shares with Bangladesh; the paramilitary force has 18 battalions posted in the state.