All inmates in Thai prisons will be vaccinated against Covid-19 starting next month. The announcement of the nationwide prison vaccination campaign follows this week’s outbreaks infecting nearly 3,000 inmates at 2 Bangkok prisons. There have also been outbreaks at prisons in Chiang Mai and the southern province of Narathiwat.
At the Central Women’s Correctional Institution in Bangkok, more than 1,000 inmates are infected with Covid-19. The outbreak started from a new inmate who was infected with the virus, according to the Department of Corrections director-general. At the Bangkok Remand Prison, where more than half of the prison population has tested positive for Covid-19, the virus was brought into the prison by a department official who was infected.
With Covid-19 spreading and infecting inmates at Thai prisons, human rights activists have called on Thai authorities to tackle the longstanding problem of overcrowded prisons and release inmates that are in court detention for minor or nonviolent crimes.
To prevent the spread of Covid-19 at Thai prisons, the Department of Corrections also plans to conduct rapid Covid-19 tests on new inmates before they are placed in the general prison population. The tests results come back in 20 minutes and inmates will no longer need to quarantine for long periods waiting for a result.
Many officials who work for the Department of Corrections, like guards who are in close contact with inmates, have already been vaccinated against the coronavirus. The department will start vaccinating inmates once another order of Covid-19 vaccines arrives in June. Those who are at high risk of a severe infection will be vaccinated first.
SOURCE: Thai PBS
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