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JMPD officers who tested positive for COVID-19: Dept acted late in isolating us

The JMPD confirmed four of its officers had tested positive for COVID-19, with three of the cases confirmed this week.

Picture: @JoburgMPD/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Colleagues of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers who tested positive for coronavirus said contrary to what management said, it took a while before they were isolated, risking infection through close contact with staff and members of the public.

The JMPD confirmed four of its officers have tested positive for COVID-19, with three of the cases confirmed this week.

While officials said they made sure cops were protected while on duty, questions are being asked about the time lapses between testing, the long wait for results and why after the first test was confirmed, the officers’ close contacts continued to work.

According to the JMPD, one of its officers fell ill last Wednesday and was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 when results came back two days later.

She was sharing a patrol car with three others who later also tested positive for the virus.

Their colleagues said even after the first case was confirmed, the officer’s immediate contacts, at least three, were not isolated and continued to work.

It was only after their tests came back positive that they were quarantined.

On Monday, 107 staff were tested and three more were positive.

Until then, the officers had been working out in the field manning roadblocks and effecting arrests for non-compliance with lockdown regulations.

One officer, whose identity has been concealed, said some of his colleagues were sent for testing at a government facility, but the results were taking long, so others opted to go the private route as they grew anxious.

He claimed some were still reporting for duty even though their test results were still outstanding.

Meanwhile, another officer said she feared for her safety and that of her colleagues: “Most of the JMPD officers are not aware that they may have this because with COVID-19 you wouldn’t know where you caught it.”

Yet another accused management of being careless: “They still told us to come to work even after testing and waiting for results.”

The JMPD did not respond to these specific allegations even though questions were sent prior to the department issuing a media statement on Thursday.

However, spokesperson Wayne Minnaar did say they had put measures in place to ensure the officers were protected.

Last month, Eyewitness News told the story of JMPD officers who were disillusioned after management asked them to pay for their own cloth masks.