Singapore — As the multi-ministry task force against Covid-19 appeals to people in Singapore to practise social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease, a similar message has been issued to other countries by the World Health Organisation.
However, social distancing poses a problem in an environment, such as in a prison, where inmates are confined near one another.
In Iran, the unhygienic and overcrowded conditions in the country’s jails prompted the release in mid-March of some 85,000 prisoners.
On March 25, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for the release of prisoners all over the globe, calling the consequences of neglecting these prisoners as “potentially catastrophic”.
Northern Ireland has facilitated the release of some prisoners, and some cities in the United States plan to do the same, although analysts are worried that this may not come quickly enough.
In Thailand on Sunday (March 29), a riot broke out in a jail over fears of a Covid-19 outbreak. Some convicts managed to escape but were later re-arrested. On the same day, a prison riot in Bogota, Colombia, led to the deaths of 23 convicts.
In Singapore, tnp.sg reported on Tuesday (March 31) the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) as confirming that, because of precautionary measures, there had been no Covid-19 cases among inmates or staff.
“We are closely monitoring the health and well-being of staff and inmates, and they are regularly reminded on the need to practise good personal hygiene and be socially responsible,” said a spokesperson for the SPS.
New admissions to the prison system are kept separate from other inmates for two weeks. Their temperature is also taken twice daily.
In the event of a suspected case of Covid-19, the officers are given personal protection equipment, including gloves and masks. These frontline officers also wear the protective equipment when facilitating new admissions to the jail system.
The temperature of all visitors, as well as the staff, is taken at every access point into the prison system facilities.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health said on Monday evening that there were 35 new cases of Covid-19 in Singapore, bringing the total to 879. Of that number, 228 have fully recovered and been discharged from hospital. Three patients have died.
The ministry announced three new clusters of Covid-19 as well: S11 Dormitory @ Punggol at 2, Seletar North Link; Wilby Residences at 25, Wilby Road; and Hero’s live music bar at 69, Circular Road.
Nine of the new cases are imported ones, with the patients having travelled to Europe, North America, South America, Middle East, and countries in Asean.
Of the remaining 26 cases, 12 are connected to previous cases or clusters, while links for the other 14 are still unknown. /TISG