Andhra Pradesh

State police in forefront in containment strategy, says DGP

Director General of Police Gautam Sawang visiting red zone areas in Old Guntur.

Director General of Police Gautam Sawang visiting red zone areas in Old Guntur.  

Sawang urges people to cooperate for graded lifting of lockdown

The lockdown in containment zones would continue for some more time in tune with the guidelines of the State and Central governments, said Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, Gautam Sawang.

“We appeal to people to make sure that there is no scope for congregations. The police will allow essential services and we urge people to show restraint and follow directions as we brace for a graded opening up of lockdown in two weeks,’’ Mr. Sawang told The Hindu as the nationwide lockdown entered its third phase on Monday.

“COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge and there is no conventional methodology to respond to this. With constant guidance and support from Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the AP Police went about in a systematic fashion in contact tracing and breaking the chain of virus spread,’’ he said.

Foreign returnees

Stating that the State police have been tracking foreign returnees ever since the outbreak of the virus was reported from Wuhan in China in the end of December, the DGP said that the police were able to get the data of students returning from Wuhan from the Ministry of Home Affairs. Out of 22,266 persons with a history of foreign travel, 11 persons tested positive and six of their primary contacts have been identified.

Delhi meet cases

Later, on March 25, the first COVID-19 positive case of a man who had attended the religious congregation of Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin in Delhi had surfaced in Guntur. His travel history showed that he visited Ajmer, Delhi and the police used standard investigation tools like Call Data Records to establish that he had attended the Delhi event.

“The AP Police shared this piece of vital information with the Intelligence Bureau and we began working with the Central government’s agencies to arrive at a figure. A total of 1,185 persons attended the gathering, out of which 258 persons tested positive. Identification of their primary and secondary contacts was a herculean task and we have identified 4,855 contacts and ensured contact tracing of all these persons was done in quick time,’’ said Mr. Sawang.

Effective curbs

Enforcement of lockdown was another huge challenge and the police moved to quickly seal off 128 check-posts across the State but orders were issued to ensure movement of vehicles of essential services. An Integrated Command Control Centre, manned by five IPS officers and 10 IAS officers, was set up to ensure identification and movement of essential services vehicles. A research and analysis wing was also set up to constantly monitor the cluster containment strategies.

“Technology was used in a big way. We updated 64 drones to record and communicate oral messages to people in containment zones. I am sure that we will emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient,’’ added the DGP.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 4:02:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/state-police-in-forefront-in-containment-strategy-says-dgp/article31505497.ece

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