Nepal | January 18, 2021

Inmates at risk of contracting coronavirus in Kathmandu valley

Ujjwal Satyal
Share Now:

Kathmandu, May 25

About a month ago on April 22, two nurses working in the country’s largest prison at Sundhara tested positive for COVID -19 under the rapid diagnostic test.

The test result sent a wave of panic among the 25,087 jailbirds, including 773 juveniles and additional 773 infants living with their parents inside a total of 72 prisons and eight juvenile correction homes across the country.

Luckily, after two days, the second test conducted on them through Polymerase Chain Reaction test showed that both of them had not contracted the virus. Following the incident, authorities took another step to subdue possible outbreak of the contagion by promising to establish quarantine facility inside the prisons.

Ever since, the Department of Prison Management has established quarantine facilities at Nakkhu Prison and Sundhara Prison inside Kathmandu valley and one at Jhumka Prison of Sunsari district. All the three quarantine facilities have the capacity to accommodate 30 to 40 beds.

New prisoners sent by the court, prisoners showing symptoms of COVID-19 or those who had recently visited hospitals due to health issues have been kept in the quarantine facility. Most of these quarantine facilities are occupied by suspected patients, according to DoPM officials.

“Nakkhu quarantine and central jail’s quarantine at Sundhara are already packed. We are not sure how we will subdue the cases if the virus starts spreading among employees or prisoners,” said DoPM Spokesperson Debarshi Sapkota.

While the number of quarantine facilities are already scarce, officials at DoPM have not managed quarantine facilities effectively due to lack of space inside the prisons.

Most of the prisons in the country now accommodate almost twice the number of prisoners than their real capacity. For instance, the Sundhara-based Jaggannath Dewal Prison — also the country’s largest prison — now accommodates more than 3,150 prisoners. This number is much higher than the standard number of around 1,700 prisoners it can accommodate.

Jailbirds sleep in cramped conditions. Many opt to sleep together, especially in winter or in cold places. They eat in a messy condition, share washrooms and play together in group. Authorities fear the disease could spread like wildfire inside prisons if any a jailbirds contracts the virus.

Hundreds of fresh people are sent to prisons across the country. Likewise, if a large number of jailbirds require to be hospitalised for medical check-up, they are likely to contract the virus. Similarly, staffers working at the prison can also contract the virus.

Director General of DoPM Pradipraj Kandel, urged jail staffers and inmates not to panic as they were working to contain the spread of virus inside prisons.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 26, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

319 Nepalis living abroad have succumbed to Covid-19 thus far: NRNA

KATHMANDU: Two more Nepalis living abroad died from coronavirus infection in the past week. According to Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA), one person passed away in London while the other one died in South Africa. According to the Health Committee under NRNA, with the latest fatalities, Read More...

Leach takes five wickets as nervous England near victory

GALLE: Left-arm spinner Jack Leach took five wickets as England edged towards victory over Sri Lanka in the first test in Galle, but they made a nervous start to their pursuit of a modest target of 74 and closed day four on 38 for three on Sunday. Jonny Bairstow (11 not out) and debutant Dan Read More...

Leicester march on, Chelsea end slump

LONDON: Leicester City maintained their impressive form as a 2-0 home win against Southampton extended their unbeaten Premier League run to five games to lift them into second place on Saturday. Goals from James Maddison and Harvey Barnes saw off the Saints as Leicester moved above champions Liv Read More...

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 93.86 million, death toll at 2,012,869

LONDON: More than 93.86 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 2,012,869​ have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December Read More...

In pics: A day in the lives of STIDH health-workers

KATHMANDU: Teku-based Sukraraaj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital (STIDH) which was established as centre for treating COVID-19 cases has been successfully providing quality care to the patients. Following the detection of the virus in country around ten months ago, the government had dec Read More...

PM has no right to dissolve House, SC told

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 17 Lawyers representing the petitioners that have challenged the dissolution of the House of Representatives today began pleading before the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana. Advocate Bhimarjun Acharya said the prime m Read More...

EC consults parties regarding snap polls

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 17 The Election Commission today held consultation with 11 political parties on midterm polls announced for April 30 and May 10. EC Spokesperson Raj Kumar Shrestha said Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya informed representatives of political parties about its Read More...

Valley schools reopening after 10 months

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 17 Schools across all local bodies inside Kathmandu valley have started reopening. They had been closed for at least 10 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 24, the government imposed a blanket lockdown in a bid to subdue the spread of coronavirus, which hit the Read More...