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Aero India 2023

COVID-19: Indian Army decides to place personnel under green, yellow, red' categories

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Army has decided to classify all its personnel reporting back from leave, temporary duties and training courses into three categories of 'green, yellow and red' as part of measures to check the spread of coronavirus, official sources said on Monday.

Under a fresh set of instructions, the Army headquarters also placed all ranks of the operationally-critical Northern Command and personnel belonging to Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Service under "top priority" bracket.

A sizeable number of personnel from the Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Service have been part of various teams deployed to treat infected people.

Personnel placed under top priority bracket also included the soldiers whose units/stations are within 500 km from their place of leave by road.

In the directives to all its bases, establishments and formations, the Army said all personnel requiring a quarantine period of 14 days after resuming duties will be categorised as 'yellow'

The personnel, after completing 14 days quarantine, will be classified as 'green' and those found symptomatic of the infection and requiring isolation will be put under 'red' category, the sources said.

In the last few weeks, the Army headquarters issued a series of directives with an aim to insulate the 13 lakh strong force from the coronavirus which has killed over 540 people and infected over 17,000 in India so far. The Army has reported eight cases of the infection.

"All personnel reporting back from leave, temporary duty and courses will be classified as 'yellow' and will undergo 14 days quarantine period at the reporting station/unit. These personnel will subsequently be moved from reporting station to duty station /unit in Army vehicles/special trains," according to the fresh guidelines.

In case such personnel do not move under supervision of military authorities, they will be considered 'yellow' again and will have to undergo 14 days of quarantine again.

The second highest priority has been accorded to all ranks of Eastern Command and officers and key appointments of other commands as decided by respective commands, according to the instructions.

The Army said personnel will be allowed to rejoin only on receipt of specific instructions from units/formations/establishment which granted leave and temporary duty to them.

"Any individual whose leave station is within 500 kms of unit/duty station is allowed to directly report to unit using private transport only.

"Individuals who do not fall within the 500 kms criteria will report to nearest unit/station headquarters in private vehicle only," cited the instructions.

According to the directives, Army personnel from Nepal who are on leave should remain at their home stations till the situation in Nepal stabilises and the government opens the border.

The Army clarified that the instructions will not apply to those in hotspots/containment zones', saying they will have to comply with earlier instruction of 'no movement' till the areas are de-notified.

"The leave granting authorities will decide on the use of the exception of areas officially declared as 'hotspots/ containment zones' by the central/state governments," according to the instructions.

India went under a total shutdown of 21 days from March 25 to April 14 to fight the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extending the lockdown till May 3. However, the government announced allowing certain sectors to resume activities from April 20.

Last week, the Indian Army directed all its military establishments, cantonments, formation headquarters and field units to totally restrict movement of forces till April 19 in view of the government's fresh lockdown related guidelines.

The order also mentioned that offices in Army headquarters, command headquarters and formation headquarters would start functioning with 50 per cent manpower from April 19 to May 3.

It said all training activities and temporary duties will remain suspended till May 3, adding directions on actions to be taken post the lockdown period will be issued on receipt of fresh orders from the government.

Last month, Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane issued instructions to insulate the Army from the coronavirus pandemic.

Gen Naravane also conveyed to the families of soldiers guarding India's borders with Pakistan and China that the Army is taking care of its personnel serving the country in this difficult time.

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