169 Covid-19 cases among inmates across all prison facilities, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

169 Covid-19 cases among inmates across all prison facilities

This article is more than 12 months old

Of these, 116 are at Changi Prison's Institution A1, and they include prisoners on death row

The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) said yesterday that 169 inmates across all prison facilities were Covid-19 positive as at Wednesday.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, SPS said that of these 169 inmates, 116 are from Institution A1 of Changi Prison Complex.

These 116 inmates tested positive from Nov 6 to 10, and they include prisoners on death row.

On Tuesday, Malaysian drug trafficker Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, who is facing execution, was granted a stay of his sentence by a three-judge Court of Appeal after he tested positive for Covid-19.

The Court of Appeal had been urgently convened to hear Nagaenthran's challenge against his death sentence, which was to have been carried out on Wednesday.

SPS subsequently said several inmates and staff of Institution A1 had tested positive for Covid-19.

Besides the 116 inmates from Institution A1, the others who tested positive were newly admitted inmates who were infected before entering the prisons and were detected by SPS during cohort segregation, or were inmates who had reported sick with acute respiratory infection symptoms in the prisons.

SPS said 54 supervisees - inmates placed on community-based programmes - and nine SPS staff also tested positive. All supervisees, inmates and staff are in different stages of recovery.

SPS said: "While no staff or inmates are currently hospitalised for Covid-19, three supervisees are currently hospitalised for Covid-19 as they are symptomatic."

Their condition is currently stable, the statement added.

SPS said it has temporarily placed Institution A1 on lockdown and enhanced the testing regime for staff, inmates and personnel such as vendors and volunteers entering the prisons.

All face-to-face visits for inmates have been suspended since Oct 4, but special concession had been granted to inmates on death row.

These visits have now been temporarily suspended, to minimise movements in the prison and lower the risk of virus transmission, SPS said.

They will be replaced with phone calls instead. SPS added that the families of the inmates have been informed.

The visits will resume when the situation has stabilised.

SPS has also temporarily suspended all counselling sessions, and will arrange for virtual counselling sessions when the situation becomes stable.

It also said it has put in place measures to curb Covid-19 transmission, including to protect vulnerable groups such as elderly and medically vulnerable inmates.

They are housed with inmates who have been fully vaccinated and undergo rostered routine testing if they are required to stay in medical wards for prolonged periods.