Amid coronavirus outbreak, Army mulls curtailing entry of civilians, veterans in military stations

Man Aman Singh Chhina
Coronavirus, Coronavirus indian army, Coronavirus india, Coronavirus pandemic, Coronavirus cases in india, Janata curfew, Coronavirus janata curfew

Individuals showing symptoms related to Coronavirus will not be allowed entry into the canteens and canteen users have been advised not to visit the canteen for two weeks if they have returned from foreign countries.

The Army has put off annual medical examinations of its personnel in view of the breakout of Coronavirus in the country and is also contemplating stopping the entry of civilians and veterans into military stations in order to insulate them.

Sources in the Army say that orders have been issued to all cantonments and military stations across the country to strictly adhere to the Janata Curfew announced by the Prime Minister for March 22.

"No non-essential movement of personnel or vehicles shall take place in any military station of the unit and the curfew has to be strictly observed," said a senior officer. It may be recalled that the Prime Minister had called the curfew a self-imposed restriction on a purely voluntary basis.

The Canteen Stores Department (CSD) has also issued guidelines to be followed at the CSD stores across the country. Handheld thermometers have been made mandatory at all unit run canteens and it has also been ordered that hand sanitisers be kept at the entrance of all canteens.

"Based on the size of the canteen complex entry to the canteen by the beneficiaries at any given time shall be restricted so as to ensure social distancing norms of one metre. Canteens will ensure no overcrowding outside the canteen. Queues at canteens will also follow social distancing norms," the letter states.

Individuals showing symptoms related to Coronavirus will not be allowed entry into the canteens and canteen users have been advised not to visit the canteen for two weeks if they have returned from foreign countries.

Adequate safety measures are also to be taken for the staff at the canteens and they are to be sanitized hourly.

"All high touch areas within the canteen complex like billing counter, door handles, computer keyboards etc will be sanitised frequently through the day," the instructions read.

The conduct of annual medical examinations of army personnel at military hospitals has also been postponed till April 15 so as to avoid healthy personnel coming into contact with suspected cases of Coronavirus.

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Meanhile, the Western Command Chandimandir released a statement today claiming to have expeditiously undertaken various effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst its ranks and families across various military stations and cantonments in states of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

"There has been no case of COVID -19 infection being transmitted to any Army personnel in the Western Command jurisdiction so far. Besides educating all persons about social distancing, self isolation in case of symptoms, hand and cough hygiene, various screening measures have been instituted at all entry points in military areas. Persons who are on leave have been directed to stay on leave till further orders," an official said.

Official travel has been curtailed and large gatherings are being avoided. Most of the meetings are being held through video conferencing. All institutes and clubs have been closed for the time being.

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All the military hospitals are adequately prepared with special wards to deal with COVID-19 patients. "Although sanitization kits for the medical staff are at a premium, alternate measures and precautions are being followed. Help lines have been established in all the stations for assistance of all serving persons and veterans. All families, children and especially aged persons have been instructed to stay at home. The Canteen facilities and shopping centers are regulating timings to avoid large gathering and rush at the counters. Visits of civilians and Ex servicemen into the Military Stations will be curtailed, if the gravity of the situation demands," the official added.