Yet another Bangkok prison has reported a Coronavirus outbreak, as Klong Prem Central Prison now confirmed 506 Covid-19 infections. The Corrections Department deputy director-general Dr Weerakit Harnpariphan confirmed that this outbreak was discovered through active screening, and a lot more testing still needs to be done.
The prison houses a total population of at least 20,000 inmates amongst the many facilities within its compound. Of note, the Central Women’s Correctional Institution is also on the premise and has recently reported 1,039 Covid-19 infections. The Central Correctional Hospital, Bangkok Special Prison, and the Central Correction Institution for Drug Addicts are also all housed inside, as well as every female prisoner on death row in Thailand.
The Covid-19 cluster was found in zone 4 of the maximum security prison in Chatuchak District, Bangkok. That zone is used for vocational training. The other zones of the prison have yet to be screened, creating fears that there may be a much higher Covid-19 infected population than currently known.
The deputy director-general of the department did confirm that all inmates who tested positive for Covid-19 have been isolated from the general prison population. They are being held in groupings by their condition and the severity of their symptoms.
Officials advised that relatives of prisoners can contact Klong Prem Central Prison to inquire about the condition of an inmate. The prison will only be notifying family members if the infected inmate requests them to make contact.
This prison cluster is one of several making headlines after the Bangkok Remand Prison identified nearly 1,800 covid-19 infections in its prison population. The current outbreak is attracting criticism from humanitarian groups that are calling for sentence commutations and the release of low-risk prisoners to thin the prison populations in Thailand that are already 160,000 inmates over maximum capacity in hopes of controlling the Covid-19 outbreak.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World