The Maharashtra jails reported 198 positive cases of inmates. Apart from this, as many as 86 prison staff also tested positive for coronavirus in the state.
As per the data provided by the prison department, the 198 positive inmates include 18 are in Arthur Road Jail, 26 in Thane Central Jail, 31 in Yerwada Central Jail, 1 each inmate in Kalyan and Alibaug jails, 31 in Kolhapur district prison, 15 in Nashik Central Jail and 10 inmates in Nagpur Central jail. "The patients are kept in a quarantine centre inside the jail. Treatment is given to them under the guidance of doctors," said a police officer.
"Any new inmate coming to jail is admitted only if he has a negative report. Accordingly he will be kept in quarantine for 14 days in a separate barrack. After a Covid-19 test again, he is sent to the barrack. If the inmate is brought with a positive report, we don’t allow him. We ask the local police to take care of him," said an official at a Maharashtra prison.
The Maharashtra prison in the last one year had carried out 57524 Covid-19 tests of inmates, where 3116 inmates tested positive 2911 inmates have cured and seven were reported dead. Meanwhile, 3896 jail staff conducted the test, where 717 staff tested positive and 623 staff cured from the disease and 8 were reported dead.
In April last year, the Maharashtra prison department declared a lockdown across all prisons allowing only essential services for daily needs. In the first week of May 2020, the first patient was found in the jail creating panic among the inmates and staff. Inmates were kept in a quarantine centre almost till the year end.
Shahu Darade, Public Relation Officer, Maharashtra Prison Department said, "We are speeding up the vaccination drive for inmates and taking all the precautionary measures. Till date we have vaccinated 1,326 inmates including 912 under trails and 414 convicts across Maharashtra. Meanwhile, among the 3,816 jail staff around 3,112 staff are already being vaccinated."
Sources from the jail said the vaccination drive is slow compared to the population of inmates. The strength of inmates is more than 31,000 and till date hardly 5 percent of the inmates are vaccinated.
"The vaccination drive was stopped for two days last week due to shortage of the vaccine. There was also a problem on the server. Also, the age limit should be stopped in jail. About 90 percent of the inmates are below the age group of 45 years. The arrangement for vaccination should be done at jails itself," said sources from the jail.