M'sian drug trafficker who got Covid-19 had 'transient contact' with 2 infected prison staff

He is well and asymptomatic.

Syahindah Ishak | November 09, 2021, 11:56 PM

The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) has confirmed that Nagaenthran A/L K Dharmalingam, the 33-year-old Malaysian on death row for smuggling heroin into Singapore, has tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday (Nov. 9).

PCR test came back positive on Nov. 9

In a statement on the same day, SPS said an antigen rapid test (ART) and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test were administered on Nagaenthran on Monday (Nov. 8).

His ART came back negative on Nov. 8.

He was then brought to court at noon on Nov. 9 for his appeal hearing.

However, his PCR test result came back positive later that afternoon.

Upon receipt of his positive PCR test result, SPS said it immediately informed the court.

Nagaenthran was subsequently isolated.

In view of the situation, the Court of Appeal had granted a stay of the judicial execution with immediate effect until all pending proceedings have concluded.

Well and asymptomatic

SPS said Nagaenthran will receive medical attention and court proceedings will resume on a date to be fixed, after he has recovered.

He is also well and asymptomatic. He did not report any illness prior to his court hearing.

SPS added that Nagaenthran is not vaccinated as he had opted not to receive any Covid-19 vaccine.

"SPS has informed his family and will continue to provide the family with the necessary support."

Inmates and staff tested positive

As of Nov. 9, 2021, several inmates and staff from the prison institution where Nagaenthran is housed have tested positive for Covid-19.

Affected housing units in the institution have been locked down to prevent further spread of the virus.

According to SPS, Nagaenthran had only "transient contact" with two staff who had tested positive.

SPS explained that given the number of cases in the community during this phase of the pandemic, more cases of infection are likely to arise in the prisons as well.

"SPS has taken steps to ensure that the situation remains under control," it added.

As of Nov. 7, 2021, 97 per cent of eligible inmates have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and 90 per cent have completed both doses.

Some 99.5 per cent of the prison staff have completed both doses of vaccination.

"SPS will continue with our safe management measures to safeguard the health and safety of our inmates, staff, visitors, and partners. Staff and partners entering prison facilities must undergo ART twice weekly, while external personnel entering prisons on an ad-hoc basis are required to undergo an ART prior to each entry into prisons."

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Top images via M Ravi/FB & Singapore Prison Service/FB.