At least 26 inmates of Punjab's Ludhiana Central Jail have tested positive for coronavirus, Chief Medical Officer of the district Rajesh Kumar Bagga said on Sunday. All the coronavirus positive prisoners have been shifted to a separate barrack in the jail to contain the spread among other inmates.

The coronavirus outbreak in jails has sparked concerns of new cluster cases, even as authorities have released thousands of prisoners on parole or bail to decongest crowded prisons in the country to contain the spread in closed settings.

As of Saturday, July 4, 2020, Punjab has reported 6,109 coronavirus cases in the state. Of the total cases, over 4,300 patients have recovered, while 1,641 are still active, according to the health ministry. So far, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed 162 lives in the state.

'Overcrowding jails matter of serious concern amid coronavirus'

On directions from the Supreme Court, these inmates were released as a precautionary measure and the bail and parole are for 45-60 days but can be extended depending upon the situation.

On March 23, a day before India announced nation-wide lockdown to contain the virus, the top court had said that overcrowding of prisons is a matter of serious concern and observed that it was difficult for prisoners to maintain social distancing.

The apex court had asked all the states and union territories to constitute high-level committees to consider releasing on parole or interim bail prisoners and undertrials for offences entailing up to a seven-year jail term, to decongest prisons in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Shashikant Sharma