ISLAMABAD: Several human rights organizations have raised concerns about the lack of transparency in reporting Covid-19 infections in Pakistani prisons, said the Pakistan Justice Project (JPP) – a private organization working for the welfare of prisoners – in a statement on Thursday.
According to the statement, when the first Pakistani prisoner tested positive for Covid-19 on March 24 in the Camp Lahore Prison, authorities quickly responded when they turned the prison into an isolation center and conducted tests on all related prisoners. with zero patients.
“On April 6, the authorities reported 50 cases from prison. On April 15, there were 59. The infection rate in prisons was 19.33 / 1000, far higher than the 0.09 / 1000 level in the city of Lahore, “he said.
JPP said then different authorities in Punjab began to provide information about more cases that had arisen in other cities. On April 21, the Department of Primary and Secondary Health of Punjab (PSHD) reported that the total number of infections among prisoners in the province reached 97.
After April 21, the health department reduced the number from 97 to 86 without explanation.
“Recently, a Prison Department spokesman, Punjab claimed, ’78 prisoners and prison staff have tested positive for Covid-19 ‘which is surprising because on the same day, the prison health department reported 86 cases in its daily details,” he added.
The spokesman, JPP said, also did not mention how many of the 78 infections were prisoners and how many were staff. To add to the confusion, the federal ombudsman report submitted to the Supreme Court on April 28 reported that only 47 positive detainees in the country.
“JPP relies on the highest reported number for Punjab until the authorities provide a reasonable explanation to explain the difference,” he said.
According to the statement, Karachi Central Prison has also become Covid-19’s lair with 40 cases appearing on May 18, and 212 shocking the following day. Nine wardens were also stated positive.
The statement said more than 48,300 prisoners had contracted the novel COVID-19 virus in 67 countries around the world. At least 840 have died.
Different continents, similar tribulation
The Dominican Republic has the highest recorded number of 175 cases per 10,000 prisoners – most of whom are in La Victoria prison, which has over 600% overcrowding. In the crowded Sarita Colonia prison in Peru, 13% of 3,267 prisoners tested positive.
The figures in the United States are close to 37,000 infected prisoners, with a positive average of one quarter among those tested in 37 state prisons. At Marion’s Ohio Penitentiary, mass testing revealed that 80% of the total facility population was positive.
Despite having the largest prison population in the world, the US on average carries out several tests. Some state administrations refuse to publish the number of cases and their deaths, the JPP statement said.
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