523 more Covid infections found in prisons

523 more Covid infections found in prisons

National total passes 14,000 as vaccinations behind bars begin

Inmates at the Central Correctional Institute for Drug Addicts attend an occupational training session on Aug 13 last year. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Inmates at the Central Correctional Institute for Drug Addicts attend an occupational training session on Aug 13 last year. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Another 523 inmates at seven prisons have been found to be infected with Covid-19, with the Bang Kwang Central Prison reporting the most new infections at 299. The national total has risen to 14,566.

Corrections Department director-general Aryut Sinthoppan said on Saturday that the new infections were found at the Chiang Mai Central Prison (2), Central Women’s Correctional Institution (29), Klong Prem Central Prison (158), Correctional Institute for Drug Addicts (26), Nonthaburi Prison (1), Bang Kwang Central Prison (299) and  the Thonburi Women’s Correctional Institute (8).

Another 218 infected inmates have fully recovered while 14,348 are under treatment at 12 prison facilities across the country, said Mr Aryut.

To date, a total of 37,288 inmates have taken Covid-19 tests. The Chachoengsao Central Prison has already conducted Covid tests among inmates as well. Other prisons that have already conducted coronavirus tests will have to collect nasal swabs from inmates who are not infected every 7 days. All new inmates must take Covid-19 tests, the department chief said.

The department on Saturday began vaccinating 1,500 inmates at Min Buri Central Prison, the first prison to receive Covid-19 vaccine. It has set a target to adminiser the first doses for 3,831 inmates within a week.

 “Sinovac vaccine shots will be given to inmates aged below 60 while AstraZeneca vaccine shots will be given to elderly inmates and those with seven serious diseases. Care centres at prisons and correctional institutes will compile information of infected inmates,’’ said Mr Aryut.

In a related development, a training centre for juvenile offenders in Yala has been closed after authorities found 23 Covid infections among the 188 youths and staff there. The Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection is contnuing to conduct tests at its other facilities.

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