As many as 23 prisoners lodged in Rajkot Central Jail (RCJ) in Rajkot have tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the jail administration to isolate them in a Covid care centre (CCC) in the city on Sunday.
Banno Joshi, superintendent of RCJ, said 23 inmates, all male and lodged in the same barrack inside the prison, had tested positive for the disease. “We had conducted rapid antigen tests of 94 inmates on August 14. Out of them, results of 23 came positive for Covid-19. After that, we went for their RTPCR (real time polymerised chain-reaction) tests and the results confirmed on Saturday that they had contracted the virus,” the superintendent told The Indian Express on Sunday.
Joshi said that the virus could have entered the jail precinct through some undertrial.
“Undertrials and prisoners keep coming and leaving the jail. As a rule, before one is allowed entry inside the jail, a Covid-negative report is a prerequisite. However, it is possible, one such prisoner could be carrying the virus though he could have tested negative on the day his samples were tested, and later on could have spread the infection in the jail,” she further said, adding there were 1,360 prisioners in RCJ as of Sunday.
The superintendent added that the jail administration had decided to screen the inmates for Covid-19 after one of the prisoners had tested positive a few days ago. “One inmate was granted bail by the Gujarat High Court recently and as per norm, his samples were sent for Covid-19 testing before he was released from the jail. His samples returned positive for the disease. Therefore, we went for testing of others. The 23 who have tested positive now are his contacts,” added Joshi.
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