3 new inmates and a nurse working at Changi Prison tested positive for Covid-19 between late April and early May, all unlinked

SPS said it has implemented a range of precautionary measures for both inmates and staff. PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

SINGAPORE -Three inmates, who had been newly admitted into prison, and a staff nurse working at the Changi Prison Complex have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past two months.

The four patients are unlinked to one another and there are no cases of further infection arising from these cases, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) said in a statement on Saturday (May 30).

All three inmates underwent cohort segregation for 14 days and were admitted to the prisons on different days.

Testing for Covid-19 is part of the admission process.

When the inmates tested positive for the virus, they were still undergoing cohort segregation and not with the general inmate population at any time.

They were immediately isolated from the rest of the newly admitted inmates and housed in a separate prison facility.

The first inmate tested positive on April 21, the second on April 22 and the third on May 9.

Two of the three inmates have recovered and returned to the general prison population, after being discharged from the isolation facility.

The third inmate remains clinically well and has already tested negative for the virus, but remains isolated as an added precaution.

The staff nurse, from SPS' medical service provider, tested positive for the virus on April 24. He has also recovered and is back at work.

Following these cases detected in late April and early May, there have been no new cases of Covid-19 in the prisons, SPS said.

SPS said it has implemented a range of precautionary measures for both inmates and staff, such as segregating all newly admitted inmates at Changi Prison for 14 days from the general inmate population.

The new inmates also have to undergo swab tests for the virus upon admission and at the end of the segregation period. These measures will help to minimise the risk of infection and ensure that cases can be detected early.

During the circuit breaker, all family visits and face-to-face programmes for inmates have also been suspended. Instead, inmates keep in contact with their families through phone calls and letters.

The number of electronic letters exchanged between inmates and their families in April increased by about 40 per cent when compared to March, before the start of the circuit breaker.

Following the lifting of the circuit breaker from June 2, precautionary measures will be retained and a cautious and calibrated approach in easing restrictions will be taken, SPS said.

Family visits and face-to-face programmes for inmates will only be resumed in a gradual and phased manner, depending on the situation in the community.

Certain core rehabilitation programmes, such as academic classes, may gradually resume with safe distancing measures in place.

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