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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Berhampur: Coronavirus continues to spread its tentacles to jails across Odisha with at least 48 inmates of Berhampur Circle Jail testing positive for the infection on Friday.

All the positive prisoners have been shifted to the newly-built 100-bedded dedicated COVID care centre where they are undergoing treatment.

As per reports, a prisoner serving life imprisonment was the first person to be identified as COVID positive in the jail. He was shifted to MKCG hospital in Berhampur after his health deteriorated at the Covid care centre inside the jail premises.

Following his test, 84 other inmates, who were suspected to have come in close contact with him were tested for Coronavirus and results of 48 came positive registering a Test Positivity Rate (TPR) of 57%.

Earlier in May, 21 undertrial prisoners in Udala sub-jail and nine in Keonjhar jail had contracted the virus.

It is important to mention here that the Berhampur jail is currently housing 927 prisoners and their wellbeing has become a major concern for the authorities. Given the high TPR in the jail, the chances of other inmates being infected with Coronavirus cannot be ruled out.

Meanwhile, the jail authorities have assured that proper care of the prisoners is being taken to keep them safe from COVID19.

Taking note of an 'unprecedented surge' in COVID-19 cases in the country, the Supreme Court on May 8 had passed directions for decongestion of prisons and ordered forthwith release of all those prisoners who were granted bail or parole last year in view of the pandemic.

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