144 prison inmates test positive, put in hospital
A field hospital has been set up at Chiang Mai prison after 144 new prisoners and two officers were found to have been infected with Covid-19.
Corrections Department director-general Aryut Sinthoppan said on Monday that the new infections had been detected from April 12-22 while new prisoners were being quarantined for Covid tests.
The two infected prison officers have been admitted to a field hospital for treatment and Zone 6 inside the prison that been converted into a separate field hospital for the infected prisoners.
That field hospital will also be used to admit other inmates who test positive for Covid-19 in future.
Zone 6 had originally been used as a temporary reception area for new inmates before they are moved to other areas.
Chiang Mai prison, which is in Mae Taeng district, now holds 6,404 prisoners.
Mr Aryat's deputy, Weerakit Harnpariphan, said the 144 infected inmates accounted for 2.5% of the prison's total population, which he accepted was quite high considering the efforts taken to keep everyone Covid-free in the crowded prison.
"The department has been taking care of inmates since the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak until now," he said.
Dr Weerakit said the department had already sent specialist medical equipment to the prison, including oxygen detectors and lung scanners.
He said more than 300 inmates and 50% officers at Narathiwat prison were also reported to have contracted Covid-19 in the recent outbreak.
Chiang Mai governor Charoenrit Sanguansat has announced that everyone must wear face masks, before entering any public areas, including markets, department stores and travelling on public buses.
Those who violate the order will face a maximum of one year in prison and/or a fine up to 20,000 baht.
The order took effect on April 26 and lasts until May 9.
It also outlaws gatherings of more than 10 people at parties and more than 50 at funeral rites.
Meanwhile, three employees at Government House have also tested positive for the virus, as have 624 police officers around the country., of whom 471 are being treated in hospitals.
The Metropolitan Police Bureau has the most infected officers (160), followed by the Central Investigation Bureau (90) and Provincial Police Region 6 (31).