Another prisoner and superintendent test positive, number of infections in Tihar up to 17Updated: May 20, 2020 23:12 IST
An assistant superintendent of Rohini Jail has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), officials said Wednesday. Senior officials said that because the superintendent lived in staff quarters within the Tihar Jail complex, at least 13 of his neighbours and close contacts from work have also been asked to quarantine themselves.
With this, the total number of positive cases from Delhi prisons has now increased to 17. While 15 of them are prisoners, two are staff members, including a jail warden.
The director-general (Delhi prisons) Sandeep Goel said the 50-year-old official posted to Rohini Jail started feeling unwell a few days ago and was advised to take rest at home.
“He lives in the prison’s staff quarters in Tihar complex. He got himself tested at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital and his result arrived on Tuesday. Presently he is quarantined at home,” Goel said.
Goel said they had identified 13 of the official’s close contacts, including his neighbours and colleagues, who have been asked to quarantine themselves at home for the next 14 days.
So far, all the 16 prisoners who tested positive had been lodged in Rohini Jail for about three months. Following the positive reports in Rohini, a high alert was sounded in Tihar Jail, where around 15,000 prisoners are currently lodged in different sub-jails. Rohini Jail has 1,370 prisoners within its walls.
With families of prisoners barred from visiting inmates and court hearings currently being held inside the prison over video conference, jail officers suspect the virus may have been transferred through an asymptomatic jail officer. To contain the disease, the bi-weekly visits of all family members have been cancelled. Prisoners have been allowed to use the jail’s phone to speak to their family members everyday.
Tihar Jail’s officials are on high alert after reports of the disease spreading rapidly in Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail.
In Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail where 4,000 prisoners are lodged, the infection had affected 184 prisoners and prison staff within a week of one prisoner contracting the virus. It also prompted Maharashtra to look at releasing half the prisoners in its jails to contain the spread of the disease.
Tihar Jail officers have also decongested the prison by releasing around 3,000 prisoners on interim bail and parole. At 18,000, Tihar Jail houses the most number of inmates across the country.