More than 10,000 police officers in France are currently unable to serve due to coronavirus and related issues, according to reports.
At least 80 officers have tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of this writing, RTL reports.
Additionally, roughly 5,000 are currently in self-quarantine for the coming weeks as they await test results after coming in contact with coronavirus cases.
Another 5,000 must stay home with children as schools across the country are now closed.
"Because of the coronavirus epidemic that rages in France, 10,000 police officers cannot currently take up their service to date, or 6.5 percent of the police force," RTL reports, citing a police source.
Police unions have been urgently requesting respiratory masks, hydroalcoholic gel, and other protective supplies from the French government, citing a 'right to withdrawal' of services if necessary.
La #PoliceNationale fait partie de la chaîne sanitaire pour lutter contre le #COVID2019france. Il lui faut des moyens de protection : masques, gel hydro-alcoolique, et un plan d’action renforcé par tous les acteurs de la sécurité. Courrier au ministre @CCastaner 👇 pic.twitter.com/Acl97cdk6L— Commissaires de la Police Nationale SCPN (@ScpnCommissaire) March 19, 2020
"What will you do when many services are closed, when the police can no longer respond due to lack of staff because of the sick and infected?" a letter signed by several police unions asked. "It is your responsibility."
In response, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner reportedly claimed officers "are not at risk" of contracting the virus if they take proper precautions.
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