Wednesday, 20 October, 2021
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Overcrowded prison poses COVID-19 risks



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Baitadi, Sept 16: The District Prison, Baitadi houses three-fold more prisoners than its capacity of accommodating 25 people. This has increased COVID-19 risks, said the jail administration.     

Presently, there are 42 inmates and 33 detainees in the jail, according to jailor Anil Tiwari. The risk of the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19 is high in overcrowded areas and this is the case in the prison, he said. “The observation of social distancing is not possible here.

Some inmates and detainees are staying under two tarpaulin tents set up on the prison premises. We feel the challenge to manage them and pay heed to the cleanliness,” he added.    

Overcrowded prison cells have created a situation wherein at least three prisoners have been forced to share a single bed, he said.    

Though they all have been vaccinated against COVID-19, the infection risks still exist and the prison management has banned the entry of visitors in a bid to avoid infection risks, he said.    

PCR report of the past 72 hours and the COVID-19 vaccination card is mandatory if there is any visit from outside in a special situation or for legal causes.    

District hospital chief Dr Basanta Raj Joshi sees the risk of virus infection and other sorts of infectious diseases like tuberculosis and respiratory diseases in the crammed jail. More, the prison which was built some 38 years ago awaits renovation for a long.    

According to Tiwari, a proposal for the construction of a new building with a cost estimation of over Rs 40 million has been already sent to the Department of Prison Management, but the execution of the proposal has waited. The Nepal Army owns up the responsibility for jail security.