More than 100 members of South Africa’s police force have tested positive for Covid-19 and one officer has died.
The figures emerged in a presentation which the head of police strategic management, Major General Leon Rabie, made on Wednesday to the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police and the Select Committee on Security and Justice.
According to Rabie, 2,917 police officers were tested for the novel coronavirus and the results were negative for 1,795 of them, while 103 were positive.
More than 1,000 were quarantined.
Of the 103 who tested positive, 10 recovered, 89 were isolated, three were hospitalised and one died.
While 45 police buildings were evacuated, 39 were decontaminated and reoccupied.
“The biggest threat, from a resource perspective, remains a reduced workforce, due to increasing levels of infections. In addition to preventative measures implemented, levels of infection and the impact on staffing levels are constantly being monitored,” read Rabie’s presentation.
“A reserve capability, currently performing non-critical functions, has been identified to be deployed to critical functions if and when the need arises. Measures are implemented to limit the exposure of personnel.”
After the pandemic reached South African shores last month, the Disaster Management Act compelled the police to revise procurement priorities and methodology.
To ensure the safety of employees, especially those operationally deployed, the police immediately procured personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves and hand sanitiser, equipment to sanitise vehicles on a continuous basis and equipment to sanitise buildings daily.
Additional measures had to be implemented to sanitise buildings where incidents of Covid-19 infections were identified, to prevent further infections and the spread of the virus.
The police estimate that its response to the virus will cost about R2.8 billion.