Mangaluru, July 07, 2020: While an undertrial and two staff members of the Mangaluru District Prison tested positive for COVID-19, there is no let-up in the efforts of the prison administration in ensuring that prison inmates do not get infected from COVID-19.
Primary among the steps taken is the mandatory 21-day quarantine for new inmates. “We have been following this norm for the last three months,” Superintendent of Prison Chandan Patel told The Hindu. The old block of the prison is being used for this purpose.
“We are just overcautious with the new inmates. If they do not have any symptoms during this period, then they are brought back to the main block,” he said.
Among those who are undergoing 21-day quarantine included six of the eight arrested recently by the Ullal Police in an attempt-to-murder case. Six accused were remanded to judicial custody after they tested negative for COVID-19, while two of them who tested positive were moved to an isolation centre.
A hands-free sanitiser has been kept at the entrance to the prison. Another sanitiser has been kept for the use of inmates and prison staff entering the main block. They are compulsorily made to wear face masks when going further inside the prison. The prison staff move around the barracks using face shields. The entire prison premises is sanitised three times a day using sodium hypochlorite solution, he said.
To ensure social distancing among the inmates, the prison administration in April shifted 80 inmates to the district prisons in Karwar and Chikkamagaluru. The district courts released some of the undertrials on bail. The undertrials are being produced before courts in the district from the prison using video conferencing facility.
An undertrial, who was admitted to the Government Wenlock Hospital in the city a few days ago after he suffered a fall in the prison, tested positive for COVID-19.
A warder, who was among six prison staff who took the undertrial to hospital, and a jailor, who was the primary contact of the warder, also tested positive. The two are asymptomatic and undergoing treatment. Primary and secondary contacts of the warder are under home quarantine.
There are about 50 prison staff to take care of the 222 inmates in the prison, Mr. Patel said.
Courtest: The Hindu