103 test positive at Arthur Road prison

Hotspot: Policemen stand guard outside Arthur Road Central Jail on Thursday.

Hotspot: Policemen stand guard outside Arthur Road Central Jail on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Salman Ansari

As many as 103 people, including inmates and staffers, at Arthur Road Central Jail tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

The prison, known for having housed underworld figures and terror convicts, currently houses around 2,800 inmates despite having a capacity of 800.

A team of doctors from the JJ Hospital had on Tuesday collected samples from around 200 people at the prison, after the virus was observed to have reached one of the barracks at the jail. Test reports came in on Thursday evening.

“Tests have confirmed that 77 prisoners and 26 prison staffers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The process of moving them to St. George Hospital for treatment has been initiated,” Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said.

Prisons Department officials said they were tracing the contact histories of all those who had tested positive. According to sources, the barrack where the patients were lodged can officially hold up to 200 prisoners, but currently has 500.

“The origin of the outbreak inside the prison is still not clear, as we had taken all possible precautions, including stopping visits and releasing convicts sentenced to seven years or less on parole. We suspect that the virus entered the prison through the raw foodstuffs that we get from external sources and further inquiries are under way,” a senior Prisons officer said.

The officer said the outbreak was detected last week when one of the inmates from the barrack had to be rushed to hospital by two employees. The staffers were quarantined and tested positive as well, after which samples were collected from all inmates of the barrack.

Mr. Deshmukh said eight prisons in the State have been placed under lockdown, with nobody being allowed in or out, and food and accommodation was being provided on the prison premises itself.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 7:40:57 PM |

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