LAHORE: Provincial Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Social Welfare Muhammad Basharat Raja on Friday said that measures have been tightened to prevent coronavirus spread in all prisons of the province.
In a statement, he said that on the directions of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Bazdar, screening of prisoners is being arranged in all jails.
He said that a transfer plan has been made to shift 3,500 prisoners from overcrowded jails to others, enabling maximum social distancing in prisons.
He also said that the total number of prisoners in Punjab is 45,535 currently, out of which 25,708 are under-trial prisoners, including 713 women.
The minister said that the newly arriving prisoners are being tested and kept in quarantine centres for 14 days.
He said that the coronavirus counters have also been set up at the entrance gates besides coronavirus wards in all district jails of Punjab. All visitors are allowed to enter the premises after strict checking, he added.
He also said that the medical staff in jails has been given special training about coronavirus prevention and has been provided with personal protection kits.
He further said that as soon as symptoms of coronavirus appear in any prisoner, his meetings with relatives and the court appearances are stopped immediately. He added that staff on duty in prisons is not allowed to go out of the premises and no prisoners are allowed to go from one barracks to another as all gatherings have been banned in jails.
He said the prison staff and detainees have also been informed about the coronavirus preventive measures in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
It is worth mentioning here that 58 inmates had tested positive for coronavirus at camp jail. The prison was vacated and turned into a 100-bed quarantine centre on Thursday.
Reportedly, 490 inmates imprisoned in the nearby barracks were also exposed to the mysterious patient zero. The authorities carried out tests of all of the 490 prisoners out of which 58 inmates were reported positive with COVID-19.