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233 inmates in 16 Assam jails are Covid positive — IG (Prisons)

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By IANS Updated: May 19, 2021 11:39 pm
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Guwahati, May 19 (IANS): In all 233 inmates of 16 of the total 31 jails in Assam are currently under treatment after they tested Covid-19 positive, a top prison official said.

According to Inspector General of Prisons Barnali Sharma, in the first wave of the Covid pandemic around 3,000 prisoners were infected by the contagious virus and all of them had recovered from the dreaded disease.

“Compared to the first wave of the pandemic, the situation in the jails in the second wave is completely under control,” the IG (Prisons) claimed.

She said that of the 233 Covid positive prisoners, the highest number are in Dibrugarh central jail with 54 positive cases .

Among the 54 Covid patients, a top leader of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) Jiban Moran, a close aide of the outfit’s commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, also tested positive for the virus a few days back.

“The Dibrugarh central jail currently has 530 inmates. Over the past two days, 54 have been found to be infected by Covid-19. The inmates who have tested positive have been kept in isolation in the jail complex,” Sharma told IANS over phone.

She said that due to many steps taken including the release of many prisoners during the second wave of the disease, lesser number of inmates were infected by the coronavirus.

The steps included conducting rapid antigen tests in all the 31 jails in the state, setting up of isolation facilities and strengthening the medical treatment facilities in the prisons.

“Following the directives of the Supreme Court, Gauhati high court, union home ministry and state government we have released many prisoners on parole, PR Bond (personal recognizance bond) and interim bail,” said Sharma.

The official said that the state level committee headed by a Gauhati high court judge would meet on Thursday to discuss the prevailing situation in the 31 jails, including six central jails across Assam.

In pursuance to the Supreme Court’s order, different state governments of the northeastern region have taken several steps including interim release of thousands of under trials, to prevent the spread of coronavirus in jails.

Assam has reported 5,835 new Covid cases and 73 deaths over the past 24 hours.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the impact of the second wave has been “extremely severe” in Assam and the state’s medical infrastructure including production of oxygen is being further strengthened.

The number of active cases in Assam rose to over 46,393 late on Tuesday night against 25,027 active cases on May 1.

Assam has so far reported 3,40,858 Covid cases, while 2,344 persons have succumbed to the disease.

Of the 34 districts in Assam, the situation in five districts is very serious — Kamrup Metro, where the active case tally stood at 921 on Tuesday night, followed by Nagaon (451), Dibrugarh (445), Kamrup Rural (410) and Cachar (355). Assam’s Guwahati, also the northeastern region’s main commercial hub, falls in the Kamrup Metro district.

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By IANS Updated: May 19, 2021 11:39:54 pm