Three days after an inmate of Rohini Jail tested positive for Covid-19, at least 15 more inmates and a staffer have contracted the virus. After contact tracing, 24 people — inmates and staffers — at Rohini Jail had been tested.
“We had conducted Covid-19 testing for 19 inmates of Rohini Jail who shared the barracks with the first inmate… 15 out of these 19 inmates have tested positive. Five staff members were also tested and one (head warden) has tested positive,” DG Prisons Sandeep Goel said.
Goel said that all 16 who tested positive are asymptomatic. “The inmates have been separated from others. They have been kept in the isolation quarantine barrack. The head warden is in home quarantine. A few other staffers too have been sent to home quarantine,” said Goel.
Meanwhile, officials of the three Delhi prisons — Rohini, Mandoli and Tihar — are in contact with officials at other prison complexes, including Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail, where 158 inmates and 26 staff had tested positive. Goel said, “I have been interacting with other DG Prisons as well… Mutual experience sharing always helps.”
An isolation centre has been built in each Delhi jail. A Rohini jail official said that the 15 inmates who tested positive are under-trial prisoners, under the age of 35 years, and accused of crimes such as attempt to murder, robbery, and assault. “Each jail is equipped to isolate at least 150 inmates if it reaches that point, even though we are taking all precautions. Some barracks have been emptied out and turned into isolation centres, and in each isolation cell, not more than 15 positive people will be kept, even though it can accommodate over 30,” the official said.
Every day, a doctor equipped with a PPE will visit the isolation centre. “The staff giving them food are also kept separate from the rest of the staff and equipped with PPE,” said the official.
Each jail has a special task force (STF) for contact tracing. Goel said, “In this case, contact tracing is still on. More testing will be done if needed, in accordance with ICMR guidelines.”
On Thursday, The Indian Express had reported that a 28-year-old inmate of Rohini Jail, who underwent a surgery at DDU hospital on May 11, had tested positive for the virus. This was the first reported case of the virus across the three Delhi prisons.
Goel said that so far no cases have been reported from Tihar Jail and Mandoli Jail, although a few inmates have been tested at both.In Mandoli Jail, an inmate was tested after jail authorities received information that he had tested positive just days before he was jailed.
“The information we received wasn’t correct, we later figured. We got him tested again anyway, and that result was negative,” said Goel.
Across Delhi prisons, 1,056 convicts have been released so far on emergency parole; 2,177 under-trials have been released on interim bail; 301 inmates released on personal bond; and 39 granted special remission.
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