NEW DELHI: Around 150 Army personnel who arrived in the national capital from various locations in the last few weeks to participate in the Republic Day and Army Day parades have tested positive for COVID-19, official sources said.
The infection was detected during a mandatory testing for COVID-19 under a strict protocol formulated to insulate all the personnel taking part in the two parades from the COVID-19 infection, they said.
Over 2,000 Army personnel have arrived in Delhi since late November for the Republic Day and Army Day parades using various modes of transport and all of them had to undergo the COVID-19 test before they were put into a “safe bubble”, the sources said.
Those who have tested negative are being put into the “safe bubble” that has been created to accommodate all the personnel who will be part of the marching contingents, they said.
The “safe bubble”, created in the Cantonment area, comprises a large number of camps and those selected to stay in them will have almost “zero connectivity” from the outside world till the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, the sources said.
The Army Day is celebrated on January 15.
The sources said the 150 personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 are “asymptomatic” and may be able to go to the “safe bubble” once they recover from the infection.
“We are following a very strict COVID-19 protocol for the participants of the Republic Day and Army Day parades. The safe bubbles were established as part of a larger strategy of force preservation in view of the pandemic,” said an official on the condition of anonymity.
The Army has set up “safe bubbles” in Ladakh as well as in certain formations along the Line of Control.
The troops who have tested positive for the infection have been quarantined and are under medical observation, the sources said.