169 inmates are Covid-19 positive, including prisoners on death row: Singapore Prison Service

Of the 169 inmates, 116 are from Institution A1 of Changi Prison Complex. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) said on Thursday (Nov 11) that 169 inmates across all prison facilities are Covid-19 positive as at Wednesday (Nov 10).

In response to queries from The Straits Times, SPS said that of these 169, 116 are from Institution A1 of Changi Prison Complex.

These 116 tested positive from Nov 6 to 10, and include prisoners on death row.

On Tuesday, Malaysian drug trafficker Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, who is facing execution, was granted a stay of his execution by a three-judge Court of Appeal after he tested positive for Covid-19.

The Court of Appeal had been urgently convened to hear Nagaenthran's challenge against his death sentence, which was to have been carried out on Wednesday (Nov 10).

The SPS subsequently said that several inmates and staff of Institution A1 tested positive for Covid-19.

Besides the 116 inmates from Institution A1, the others who tested positive were newly admitted inmates who were infected before entering prisons and were detected by SPS during cohort segregation, or were inmates who reported sick with acute respiratory infection symptoms in the prisons.

SPS said 54 supervisees, who are inmates placed on community-based programmes, and nine SPS staff also tested positive. All inmates and staff are in different stages of recovery.

SPS said: "While no staff or inmates are currently hospitalised for Covid-19, three supervisees are currently hospitalised for Covid-19 as they are symptomatic."

Their condition is currently stable, the statement added.

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

All face-to-face visits for inmates have been suspended since Oct 4, but special concession had been granted to inmates on death row.

These visits, too, have now been temporarily suspended, to minimise movements in the prison and lower the risk of virus transmission, SPS said.

They will be replaced with phone calls instead, and SPS added that families of the inmates have been informed of this.

The visits will resume when the situation has stabilised.

SPS also said it has put in place measures to curb Covid-19 transmission. These include measures to protect vulnerable groups such as 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.

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