All prisons closed to visitors March 18-31
published : 18 Mar 2020 at 10:07
The Corrections Department has ordered all prisons to suspend visits by relatives of inmates for 14 days, from March 18-31, to help stem the spread of Covid-19, department chief Pol Col Narat Sawetanan said on Tuesday.
The move was in response to the cabinet's resolution on Tuesday that closes bars, entertainment venues, traditional massage parlours, gyms and theatres, as well as schools and universities in Bangkok and surrounding provinces, during the same period.
Pol Col Narat said closing prison gates to visits is intended to prevent the coronavirus spreading to the 380,000 inmates across the country.
The facilities were crowded and if the virus were to enter the prison system it would be very difficult to bring it under control, he said.
Pol Col Narat said the Corrections Department strictly followed the Public Health Ministry's instructions to combat the Covid-19 outbreak. So far, no inmates had contracted the disease.
At Chai Nat provincial prison the atmosphere remained calm, with only a few relatives arriving there on Wednesday.
A prison official said although family visits had been suspended, relatives could still come and do things for inmates as usual, such as depositing money and buying goods for them.
During the closure period, the prison would work with public health officials in providing health scans for prison staff, inmates and relatives to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, the official said.
A woman arrives at the Chai Nat provincial prison to deposit money for an inmate on Wednesday. Face-to-face visits by relatives of inmates at all prisons have been suspended for 14 days. (Photo by Chudate Seehawong)