THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a serious concern for authorities at the Central prison in Thiruvananthapuram, 63 more prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19 after rapid antigen tests on Friday. With this, the total number of infected prisoners has gone up to 164.
Meanwhile, the Kerala prison headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram has been shut down for three days after symptoms of COVID-19 were detected in two prisoners engaged in sanitation of the headquarters and its premises. DGP (prisons) Rishiraj Singh issued the orders on Friday following instructions from the state health department.
According to the DGP's order, the headquarters will be opened after disinfecting the office and premises. The headquarters and adjoining prison have become an epicentre of the virus as a total of 101 prisoners have tested positive so far in the rapid antigen testing conducted on Wednesday and Thursday. A cluster is feared to have developed in the prison and its premises.
In addition, a prisoner at a special sub-jail in Thiruvananthapuram also tested positive. The DIG (prisons) has gone into home quarantine. On Thursday, an officer in the prison also contracted the disease. The prison authorities said more antigen tests would be conducted in the coming days. At present, a total of 975 prisoners are in the Central prison at Poojappura in Thiruvananthapuram.
Inmates under remand as well as those convicted were among those who tested positive. They will be isolated within the prison and also treated there, since all of them were asymptomatic. A special ward will also be opened in the prison soon for the treatment.
The testing of inmates in Poojappura jail began after an aged prisoner was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Tuesday. This was followed by a rapid antigen test of 107 prisoners on Wednesday out of which 59 had tested positive. On Thursday, 41 more prisoners tested positive. However, the source of the infection remains a mystery.
The capital continues to be the hotspot of the virus spread. On Thursday alone, 434 COVID-19 cases were reported in the district.