Over 100 members of the South African Police force have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
These figures surfaced in a presentation made to the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police and the Select Committee on Security and Justice by the Head of Police Strategic Management, Major General Leon Rabie, on Wednesday.
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.
Of the 103 who tested positive, 10 recovered, 89 were isolated, 3 were hospitalized and one died.
So far 45 police buildings have been evacuated, with 39 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.”
When the pandemic reached South Africa last month, the Disaster Management Act compelled the police to relook procurement priorities and methodology.
To ensure police safety, especially those operationally deployed, the police immediately procured personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, hand sanitiser, equipment to sanitise vehicles on a continuous basis and equipment to sanitise buildings daily.
Additional measures were implemented to sanitise buildings where incidents of COVID-19 were identified, to prevent further infections and the spread of the virus.
The police estimate that its response to the virus will cost around R 2,8 billion.