After a month without recording a Covid-19 positive case, the virus has resurfaced in the country’s prisons following news that 23 inmates have tested positive.
In an interview yesterday, Malawi Prison Services national spokesperson Chimwemwe Shaba said as of yesterday, the country’s prisons had 23 Covid-19 cases out of which 10 were at Chichiri Prison in Blantyre.
He said the first three new cases were registered on April 30 2021, about a month after the service registered its last Covid-19 positive case.
Asked if the prison service may have relaxed on Covid-19 preventive measures, Shaba said: “We had not abandoned Covid-19 measures. We are still
conducting fumigation exercises in our prisons.
“But Covid-19 is a very tricky virus and how it is spreading is difficult to understand.”
However, Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (Chreaa) executive director Victor Mhango has blamed the spike in Covid-19 cases on laxity in enforcing restrictions.
He said: “We, as a country, we relaxed so much because we were comfortable with the figures that were coming in, that we were doing fine. This also happened in our police cells. So, definitely the situation our prisons are in is a result of that.”
He stressed the need to conduct routine testing in prisons, saying new prisoners are sent to prisons almost daily.
Asked if they have launched investigations to find out reasons for the new infections in prisons, Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma said he had no information that the pandemic has resurfaced in prisons.
In January this year, about 79 inmates tested positive for Covid-19 in prisons