S'pore Prisons: 169 inmates, including those on death row, have Covid-19

SPS said that cases of Covid-19 will be detected from time to time in prison, given the existence of cases in the community.

Joshua Lee | November 12, 2021, 11:48 AM

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As of November 10, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) has detected more than 200 active cases of Covid-19 in various stages of recovery.

This was announced by SPS in a media release on November 11.

Of the active Covid-19 cases, 169 are inmates, 54 are supervisees, and nine are SPS staff.

Only three supervisees were hospitalised because they were symptomatic. Their condition is currently stable.

Supervisees are inmates who are serving the tail-end of their sentences in the community on community-based programmes.

They work in a variety of sectors, including essential services such as logistics, food and beverage and cleaning.

"Most of the supervisees have been gainfully employed during the pandemic and have contributed to the nation’s efforts in managing Covid-19," said SPS.

Institution A1 on temporary lockdown

Some of the Covid-19-positive inmates were infected before entering prisons. They were detected during cohort segregation, said SPS.

Newly admitted inmates are segregated for 14 days before they are allowed to join the general inmate population.

Other Covid-19-positive inmates were detected when they reported sick with acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms inside prisons.

Of the 169 inmates who tested positive for Covid-19, 116 inmates from Institution A1 tested positive from November 6 to November 10. This includes prisoners on death row.

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

Face-to-face visits for all inmates have been suspended since October 4.

However, special concession was granted for such visits to be arranged for death row prisoners given their unique circumstances.

Now, SPS has suspended face-to-face visits temporarily for death row prisoners as well and replaced them with phone calls. This, said SPS, was done to minimise movements in the prison and lower the risk of virus transmission.

SPS said it enforces strict Safe Management Measures such as the wearing of masks, adopting safe distancing, and reminding all inmates and staff to seek medical attention promptly if they feel unwell.

Additional measures are in place to protect vulnerable groups like the 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.

As of November 7, 99.5 per cent of SPS staff and 90 per cent of the eligible inmate population are fully vaccinated. The booster vaccination exercise has also commenced for both staff and inmates.

Top image credit: Singapore Prison Service.