138 inmates infected by COVID-19, five die

Published On: September 7, 2020 03:40 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

65 inmates at the central jail and 93 security personnel across the nation have contracted the virus so far

KATHMANDU, Sept 6: As many as 138 inmates in various prisons across the country have been infected with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Of the 815 prisoners who had undergone PCR tests, 138 in 11 jails were diagnosed with this viral infection, according to Devarshi Sapkota, information officer at the Department of Prison Management. Reports of other 80 inmates are yet to come, Sapkota added.

Fifty-three of those who had earlier tested positive for the virus gained recovery while 78 others are undergoing treatment at isolation centers. “Most of them have normal health,” said Sapkota.

While analysing the data compiled by the department, the Central Jail in Sundhara, Kathmandu is found to have been worst-affected by this pandemic as 65 inmates from this prison have contracted the virus. The prison has also reported as many as five deaths due to the COVID-19 infection. “Though they breathed their last at the central jail, they were brought here from various parts of the country after they contracted the virus,” Sapkota told Republica over the phone. The deceased inmates are between 40 and 60 years of age.

Apart from the inmates, security personnel deployed at the prisons have also been infected by this viral disease. Of the 444 tests conducted so far, a total of 93 security personnel across the country have been diagnosed with the viral disease, according to Sapkota. Twenty-five of them have recovered from the disease so far.

How did the inmates get infected?

When asked about the source of virus transmission, Sapkota, however, said that they are not sure how the inmates got infected. “We have suspected that they [inmates] might have contracted the virus while they were taken to hospitals for routine checkups and courts for hearings.”

Following the confirmation of the viral infection in the inmates, the department instructed the jail administrations to apply strict precautionary measures against this viral disease. He added, “We have now expedited contact tracing, setting up isolation wards and applying safety measures.”

Sapkota said that the inmates are at high risk of the viral infection as a huge number of prisoners are kept in a limited space. The Central Jail alone hosts 3,100 inmates in three different blocks. 

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