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Covid-19: Over 11,500 prisoners released in Punjab

Detailed instructions have already been issued to all the prison officials to avoid going to places other than their own homes while on leave, and in case of exigencies, they have to inform the head of the jail.

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

Over 11,500 prisoners have been released on parole or interim bail since March this year as part of the Punjab prisons department’s three-pronged strategy to check the spread of Covid-19 in the prisons across the state.

Till 19 July, 1362 jail officials have been tested, seven out of 564 were found positive and reports of 821 personnel are still pending. Nearly 70 prisoners have been found positive in jails of Punjab.

An official spokesperson said that in compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court, six special jails (Bathinda, Barnala, Patti, Pathankot, Ludhiana, Women Jail Ludhiana) are admitting new prisoners, only after getting tested for Covid-19.

After having been quarantined in these special jails for 14 days, they are re-tested, and then sent to regular jails in case their report comes to be negative, the spokesperson further said.

The spokesperson said that at least two masks have been provided to each prisoner and special care is being taken of high-risk prisoners. To keep the further spread of contagion under check, interviews (mulakaats) have been completely suspended and these are now being done through WhatsApp video calling, in addition to eMulakaat through ePrisons software.

Detailed instructions have already been issued to all the prison officials to avoid going to places other than their own homes while on leave, and in case of exigencies, they have to inform the head of the jail.

The spokesperson said as per results so far, none of the prisoners seem to have contracted Covid inside the jails. In case, a prisoner is found positive in any jail, he is sent to the local isolation Center.

All the prisoners who shared barracks with the affected prisoner are shifted immediately to the concerned Alternate Isolation Facility for monitoring their health and isolate them from the rest of the inmates.

These facilities have also been notified as temporary jails for this purpose, the spokesperson said.