Cuttack: Panic gripped the inmates after 43 under trial prisoners and wards in the state have identified coronavirus positive cases.
The Berhampur Circle Jail is stated to be at the top, while the Choudhwar Jail is second on the list. Seventeen people have been infected in Berhampur Jail while 10 in Choudhwar Jail.
In the last two months, Puri and Rourkela Jails have been infected too. As a result, about 17,000 inmates in various jails in the state are now at risk of infection.
According to the sources, the state currently has 16,931 prisoners in 85 jails. Many inmates have been released on bail for the fear of infection. As a preventive measure, about 100 beds in each prison have been arranged.
Prisoners who are being held in various criminal cases during this period are kept in quarantine centres. However, with the rapid rise of virus among prisoners has put the screening system under scanner.
The first COVID-19 case among the prisoners had been detected in Puri district. He was an under-trial prisoner lodged in a jail. He was arrested from Kumbharpada area on May 15. Following which, the IIC and 30 other staff of Kumbharpada police station were sent to a government quarantine centre.
On June 6, two prisoners were infected with COVID-19 at the Berhampur Circle Jail. They were arrested on June 3 in connection with a murder case on May 27.
On June 7, six inmates were identified with COVID-19 positive in Rourkela Special Jail. Police had arrested 30 people from Nala Road, in Rourkela on charges of misconduct in a containment zone and of them, six tested positive for the virus on June 9.
Similarly, an accused who was arrested on June 9 in Brahmagiri under Puri district was sent to Puri Jail and on June 13, he had tested positive. On June 11, a prisoner was found positive in the Berhampur Circle Jail. On June 16, two undertrial prisoners tested positive for the same. The two were arrested from Kanas and Gadisagada locality.
On July 5, a prisoner was found positive in the Berhampur Circle Jail. Barely a couple of days later, two other prisoners who were being treated at Acharya Harihar Post Graduate Institute of Cancer, Cuttack were identified COVID-19 positive. Three days later, on the July 9, four other inmates were found to have been infected with coronavirus in the Choudwar Circle Jail.