COVID-19: Infected Changi Prison inmate 'currently well', cellmates test negative

·Editorial Team
·3-min read
The Changi Prison Complex. (PHOTO: Google Street View screengrab)
The Changi Prison Complex. (PHOTO: Google Street View screengrab)

SINGAPORE — The Changi Prison inmate who tested positive for COVID-19 is "currently well" and his four cellmates have tested negative for the coronavirus, said the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) on Sunday (16 May).

Following the 32-year-old's positive test result on Saturday, he was transferred to a quarantine centre at Selarang Park Complex (SPC), where he is being monitored by medical staff, said SPS in a media statement. 

"His four cellmates were also immediately transferred to separate, isolated cells. Their PCR test results are negative so far, and they will be tested again," added SPS.

The infected inmate – listed as Case 63252 by the Ministry of Health (MOH) – had worked in the prison's kitchen and was administered a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test on Thursday after a close contact – a SATS food worker deployed to the same kitchen (Case 63160) – tested positive for COVID-19 that same day.

SPS added that all the affected areas have since been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. 

Additionally, mass PCR testing of about 1,050 inmates, staff and partners who had visited the affected areas – located at Institution A5 in the Changi Prison Complex's (CPC) Cluster A – between 10 May and 12 May has been completed. The CPC is divided into Clusters A and B, each of which comprises five Institutions. 

"Thus far, no further positive cases have been detected," said SPS.

Activities in Institution A5, including family visits, counselling sessions, rehabilitation programmes involving vendors or volunteers, and non-critical hospital appointments have also been suspended as a precaution.

More testing will also be done to cover all the inmates, staff and partners from Cluster A, which will see about 5,000 people tested in total.

With the recent tightening of community measures announced by the authorities on Friday, SPS said that it will cease face-to-face visits and tele-visits for inmates and replace them with phone calls. This will take effect from Monday until further notice.

"Families who have already booked their visits will have their visits automatically converted to phone calls. SPS has informed the inmates’ families about the conversion of visits to phone calls, and will contact them to arrange for the phone calls," said SPS.

"In addition to phone calls, inmates can communicate with their families through e-letters," added SPS.

To curb the spread of COVID-19 within its prisons, SPS currently subjects all new admissions to a 21-day cohort segregation, during which PCR tests are administered at the start, 14th and 20th day of this period. They are only allowed to join the general inmate population after they test negative for COVID-19 at the ned of the segregation period.

SPS said 96 per cent of its staff who are medically eligible for vaccination have been fully vaccinated. Vaccinations for medically eligible inmates were commenced on 9 March, with about 35 per cent of the inmate population having received at least their first dose.

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