After spike in clusters, DG moots mass screening in prisons

After spike in clusters, DG moots mass screening in prisons

COVID-19 | Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has suggested mass screening for Covid-19 be done in prisons to prevent more prison clusters from emerging.

This comes after he announced that 25.8 percent – or 224 cases – of the 869 new Covid-19 cases today came from prison clusters in Kedah and Penang.

“We need to take a look at the standard operating procedures (SOP) in prisons again and ensure that we are screening not just in prisons, but also detention centres and lock-ups in police stations.

“They need to be protected. One way to do that is for us to perform mass screening.

“This has been discussed with the Prisons Department and we will increase our public health activities in prisons,” Noor Hisham said during his daily press conference today, which was live-streamed on Facebook.

Earlier, the director-general disclosed that the 224 cases had come from the Tembok cluster, the Penjara Reman cluster and the Seberang Perai prison cluster.

He said these cases were isolated within the prisons and would not affect the community at large.

Previously, the Prisons Department had announced the suspension of all prison visits due to the ongoing increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.

"The visiting sessions between prison inmates and their families at institutions throughout the country are suspended from Oct 14 until further notice.

"This includes meeting sessions between inmates and lawyers, the Royal Police Malaysia, embassies, and non-governmental organisations," the Prisons Department had said.

Keep up with the latest information on the outbreak in the country with Malaysiakini's free Covid-19 tracker.

Malaysiakini is providing free access to the most important updates on the coronavirus pandemic. You can find them here.

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