WHO said that prisons are more vulnerable to infectious disease like coronavirus Covid-19
Various countries across the world are releasing their prisoners to curb the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. Iran had released 70,000 prisoners on a temporary basis, mostly non-violent offenders. The Justice Ministry of Poland had said that they have released some prisoners which might extend to 12,000. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was preparing to release hundreds of prisoners from the city’s Rikers Island Jail.
The state governments in various parts of India had announced that they would significantly reduce their prison populations by releasing convicts on emergency parole and undertrials on bail, as part of prevention measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
There have instances in various jails across the world where violent prison riots have taken place because prison visits and other services have been called off. In March, 25 such cases took place in the prisons of Italy, leading to several deaths.
Why prisons are more vulnerable to coronavirus?
The WHO published a document on 15th March about the “Preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention”. The document said that people who are deprived of their liberty, such as people in prisons and other places who are in detention, are more vulnerable to the coronavirus disease COVID-19 than normal people. The confined condition in which these people live together for a longer period of time is what makes them more prone to get the COVID-19 infection.
The document said that experiences show that prisons, jails or similar place where a large numbers of people gather in close proximity may act as a source of infection amplification and dissemination of infectious diseases within or beyond the prison.
It was said that when a pathogen enters a prison, jail or place of detention, there is a risk of the quick spread of increasing transmission of the disease at such locations. This can lead the risk of amplifying effect on the pandemic, swiftly multiplying the number of coronavirus-positive people.
The efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 are likely to fail if strong action infection prevention and control (IPC) measures, treatment, adequate testing, and care is not carried out in prisons.
People in prisons are already deprived of their liberty so they may react differently to further restrictive measures imposed upon them.
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