At least 253 South African police officers have tested positive for coronavirus while on patrol duty to enforce regulations to contain the pandemic, Police Minister Bheki Cele disclosed on Friday.According to Cele, the bulk of the affected police officers were from the Western Cape Province, which accounted for 178 of the total number.
It was followed by the provinces of the Eastern Cape with 13 cases, Gauteng with 12 and KwaZulu-Natal with eight cases, the minister said.
He expressed concern at the number of infections in the service, adding that the South African Police Service (SAPS) had put measures in place to try to prevent the spread. He, however, did not elaborate on the type of measures the police put in place.
“South African Police Service members are screened daily when they report for duty in line with the ministry’s health protocols.
“In addition to this, the screening of SAPS members is conducted by the Ministry of Health and the Medical Aid for Police, which has partnered with SAPS by proactively deploying 300 nurses to conduct screening and testing of members in all police station and units,” Cele said.
Some 511 doctors, nurses and other health workers have so far been infected with the virus since it broke out in the country in the first week of March, killing 161 people from 8,232 confirmed cases.