Almost half of the inmates at a jail in south Kashmir have tested positive for COVID-19, but their condition is stable, officials said on Friday, and stressed that spraying, fumigation and other steps to curb the spread of the virus were carried out at a number of prisons.
Superintendent of Anantnag District Jail Syroz Ahmad Bhat said, "Of the 190 inmates at the prison, 86 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus infection."
"Measures have been taken to contain the spread of the infection among other prisoners. We have isolated these 86 prisoners. Forty-eight of them have been shifted to a nearby facility at high ground, while the rest have been placed in two separate blocks within the jail complex," he told PTI.
Bhat said the condition of all the coronavirus-infected prisoners was stable.
"A special team of the health department regularly checks them. We are providing them a special diet. All of them are stable and there has been no complication," he said, adding that among the infected prisoners were several separatist activists.
The first positive case, who was admitted at Government Medical College Anantnag, has recovered from the disease and has been shifted to the high ground facilty, the jail superintendent said.
The situation was very much under control. District authorities, including the municipality, have carried out spraying, fumigation and other things to contain the spread of the virus, Bhat said.
Prisons department pfficials while there was a spurt in the number of cases at the district jail in Anantnag, there were no reports of any positive cases from other jails in the Union Territory.
"There are no report of coronavirus positive cases from other prisons so far," an official said.
They said detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs) were issued in March and those were being strictly implemented in all the jails across the Union Territory.
The officials said various instructions to contain the spread of the virus have been passed to jail superintendents in the wake of the infections at the Anantnag district jail.
"Instructions have been passed that in case a prisoner or a staff member was symptomatic, or complains about any common symptoms, then it should be brought into the notice of the prison control room immediately and the regular drill of the medical staff is undertaken.
"Those who have tested positive can be shifted and their contacts be quarantined and tested according to the protocol. Also, the jail superintendents have been directed to liaise with the nodal officers at isolation facilities or COVID wellness centres so that if any need arises, shifting of people is easy," the official said.
Senior officers of the department were closely monitoring the situation, they added.