Arthur Road Jail
Arthur Road Jail
File Picture

The inmates of Arthur Road jail who were tested positive for COVID-19 have been shifted to a quarantine facility in Mahul near Chembur on Friday.

All the 77 inmates are shifted under police protection while the 26 jail staff who contracted the disease have been shifted to various facilities.

"Now our priority is to see how we can reduce the overcrowding of the jail which is one of the major reasons behind the spread of virus at such an alarming level," said one of the jail officials on Friday.

The Arthur Road jail is one of the most congested jails with 2600 inmates currently lodged in the jail whereas its official capacity is of 804 inmates. It has thrice the number of inmates then its capacity.

The jail's superintendent has also quarantined himself in his house inside the premises after one of his close aides tested positive on Thursday.

The officials further said: "There is a protocol to test only those with symptoms, we have already tested 200 high-risk inmates and now it is unlikely to test the others until symptoms appear".

Around 200 inmates and 70 jail staff have undergone testing after a 47-year-old inmate and two jail staff tested positive. The results shook the entire state after 77 inmates and 26 jail staff were tested positive.

The jail officials suspects that it was the cook who contracted the disease first as he was also handling the delivery of essentials to the prison. The inmate who was one of the firsts to test positive was kept imprisoned just opposite the jail's kitchen.

The civic body's garbage collectors and sanitizing workers were also the one entering the prison. The jails proximity to the city's first dedicated COVID19 hospitals is also one of the suspected reasons behind the spread of the deadly virus inside the jail.

To prevent the spread of COVID19 the jail officials have stopped accepting new inmates from March 17 and diverted them to Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai. From mid-April the jail was locked completely and no staff were allowed to leave the jail, those who goes out of the jail serving quarantine period and undergoing COVID19 tested were made mandatory before allowing them inside.

In another development, a doctor atttached to Byculla Police Station has also tested positive for the virus. However, the doctor hadn’t reported on duty for sometime.

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