Saptari District Prison at high risk of coronavirus


Saptari District Jail, Rajbiraj, which is accommodating inmates three times its capacity, is at high risk of COVID-19 transmission.

One-and-a-half dozen inmates have contracted COVID-19 so far.

This has posed risk to other jailbirds.

The jail has the capacity to accommodate 125 inmates but it is crammed with 333 inmates. One room of security personnel deployed for jail security was vacated to keep jailbirds infected with the virus recently.

“When one person contracts the virus, there is high chance of many people being infected,” said Jailer Sanjay Kumar Ram, adding, “Over a dozen have already contracted the virus.”

Ram said that jail had taken precautions and tightened the meetings between jailbirds and their relatives and family members.

“Keeping more inmates than the jail’s capacity has increased the risk,” he added. It is next to impossible to maintain physical and social distancing at the jail.

Six inmates tested positive for the virus last time. The jail is planning to construct a temporary quarantine in the open meadow with makeshift tents to keep infected inmates.

Meanwhile, District Health Office Chief Duniyalal Yadav said his office had received a request from the District Prison Office to conduct PCR tests of inmates. “We do not have the resources to conduct the PCR tests of all inmates at a time,” said Yadav. The health office is planning to carry out PCR tests at the jail from tomorrow though.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 7, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.