Coronavirus reaches Chinese jails, sparks new fears of cluster cases

According to information made available by the government, nearly 450 prisoners and policemen have been infected in Chinese prisons including in the worst-hit Hubei province.
The national health commission (NHC) has reported 889 new cases of covid-19 nationwide up from 394 cases reported 24 hours earlier.(AFP FILE)
The national health commission (NHC) has reported 889 new cases of covid-19 nationwide up from 394 cases reported 24 hours earlier.(AFP FILE)
Updated on Feb 21, 2020 12:06 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, Beijing | BySutirtho Patranobis

The novel coronavirus outbreak has reached Chinese prisons triggering fresh concerns of similar closed-area cluster cases breaking out in the other crowded prisons in China including in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

According to information made available by the government, nearly 450 prisoners and policemen have been infected in Chinese prisons including in the worst-hit Hubei province.

National Health Commission (NHC) officials reported 220 cases of covid-19 cases in Hubei. The commission explained that the country-wide network on reporting of the infectious disease hadn’t been accounting for infections in the country’s prisons so far.

The NHC didn’t share details about the prisons in Hubei where the infections were reported.

The country-wide death toll from the outbreak has reached 2,239 by Thursday midnight with 120 deaths reported overnight. The number of infections stands at 75,500.

The national health commission (NHC) has reported 889 new cases of covid-19 nationwide up from 394 cases reported 24 hours earlier.

In the first cases of its kind to be reported since the deadly epidemic broke out in December, at least 207 prisoners and police personnel are infected with covid-19 in the city of Jining in eastern China’s Shandong province.

Jie Weijun, a high-ranking politician in the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) who was a top justice department official in Shandong province was sacked after the cases were reported.

In another prison in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, at least 27 cases have been reported.

Shandong officials told local media that nearly 2,077 people at the Rencheng prison – prisoners, policemen and officials -- in Jining were tested for covid-19 in February.

At least 207 cases of covid-19 were confirmed; 200 prisoners and seven police officers.

The first confirmed case at the prison, a police officer, was diagnosed on February 13. Soon, after two more officers were diagnosed.

The virus had then spread quickly through the prison.

From February 14 onwards, all close contacts of police personnel and staff were isolated in designated hotels; on February 15, inmates were transferred to single cells, local media reported, quoting officials

More than 22,300 police officers and other personnel across the province have been tested for the virus in the past week and no suspected or confirmed cases have been reported except in the Jining prison.

But there are apprehensions that similar cluster cases could have already broken out elsewhere across China and information about such cases could have been restricted.

In the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, hundreds of thousands of Muslim minority community members are housed in high-security camps, which the government calls “vocational training instititutes”. These camps could be vulnerable.

The numbers reported from Xinjiang aren’t alarming but exiled Uyghur groups have already spoken out about the possibility of outbreaks in the camps in Xinjiang.

Meanwhile, the earliest vaccine for covid-19 will be put to clinical (human) trials around late April, China’s vice-science and technology minister Xu Nanping said on Friday at a press briefing.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A roof batten is stuck in the windshield of a parked car in Paderborn, western Germany.

    'Tornado' in western Germany injures 30: Police

    More than 30 people were injured, including 10 seriously, on Friday in a "tornado" which hit the western German city of Paderborn, a police spokesman told AFP. The tornado also caused significant damage in the city in the North Rhine-Westphalia state and followed abnormally high temperatures for the time of year.

  • In this photo provided by the Myanmar Military True News Information Team, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, right, head of the military council, shakes hand with Yawd Serk, chairman of Shan State Army, during their meeting Friday, May 20, 2022, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. (Military True News Information Team via AP)

    Myanmar's military leader begins peace talks with ethnic militia groups

    Massive opposition to the army’s takeover has evolved into what some U.N. experts characterize as a civil war. The new armed rebel groups opposed to the takeover have allied themselves with some of the major ethnic minority guerrilla organizations, stretching the military's resources. Offering generous peace terms to the ethnic groups could shake the anti-government alliances.

  • Canada bans luxury goods trade with Russia, punishes more oligarchs (REUTERS)

    Canada bans luxury goods trade with Russia, punishes more oligarchs

    Canada announced Friday a ban on trade in luxury goods with Russia, and added 14 more Russian oligarchs and other associates of President Vladimir Putin to its sanctions list imposed over the invasion of Ukraine. The ban aligns with similar measures imposed by allies such as the United States and the European Union, and "will help to mitigate the potential for Russian oligarchs to circumvent restrictions in other luxury goods markets," the government said.

  • The UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet will begin her long-anticipated visit to China on May 23, including to the Xinjiang region where authorities stand accused of widespread violations. (AFP)

    UN rights chief to visit China next week, travel to Xinjiang

    The UN human rights Michelle Bachelet's six-day China visit -- the first since 2005 -- beginning Monday will include a trip to the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang, where China has been accused of human rights violations. Bachelet will be in China between May 23 and 28 during which she will visit Urumqi and Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and the southern province of Guangzhou.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) summit at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 16, 2022. (Sputnik/Sergei Guneev/Pool via REUTERS)

    Russia to cut gas to Finland, days after Nordic country applies for NATO seat

    Russian supply of natural gas to Finland will be cut on Saturday morning, Finnish and Russian energy companies said Friday, after the Nordic country refused to pay supplier Gazprom in rubles. Gazprom Export, the exporting arm of Russian gas giant Gazprom, said it had not received payment for gas supplied in April and would therefore halt deliveries from Saturday. Gazprom Export said it would defend its interests in court by any "means available".

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 21, 2022