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About 5,000 inmates, staff to be tested for Covid-19 after cook at Changi Prison tests positive

SINGAPORE — About 5,000 inmates, staff and partners at Changi Prison will be tested for Covid-19 over the next few days after a cook working there was confirmed to be infected.

All inmates' face-to-face visits and tele-visits will be replaced by phone calls with effect from May 17, 2021, until further notice, the Singapore Prison Service said.

All inmates' face-to-face visits and tele-visits will be replaced by phone calls with effect from May 17, 2021, until further notice, the Singapore Prison Service said.

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SINGAPORE — About 5,000 inmates, staff members and partners at Changi Prison will be tested for Covid-19 over the next few days after a cook working there was confirmed to be infected.

All inmates' face-to-face visits and tele-visits will also be replaced by phone calls with effect from May 17 until further notice, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) said on Saturday (May 15).

The cook who was infected is a contract staff worker at the prison kitchen located at Institution A5 in Cluster A of Changi Prison, SPS said. He is employed by Sats Food Services.

On Friday, MOH said that the man was reported as a community case with no known links to past cases and is fully vaccinated.

The 39-year-old last reported to work on Wednesday. He felt unwell after work, developed a fever and runny nose, and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic where he received a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for Covid-19. His test result came back positive the next day.

SPS said that it immediately stopped kitchen operations at Institution A5 and started contact tracing among staff members and inmates upon confirmation of his infection.

All close contacts of the man have been isolated or placed in quarantine pending issuance of a quarantine order.

Affected inmates will serve their quarantine orders in prison, isolated from the rest of the inmate population. Staff members, vendors and volunteers will serve theirs at MOH's designated quarantine facility.

TESTING FOR CLUSTER A

As a precautionary measure, activities including family visits, counselling sessions and non-critical hospital appointments have been halted in Institution A5 where the cook worked, SPS said.

All affected areas have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

PCR testing has started for all inmates, staff members, vendors and volunteers who have been to Institution A5 from Monday to Wednesday. About 1,050 inmates, staff members and partners will be tested.

The Changi Prison complex comprises two clusters, Cluster A and Cluster B, each of which contains five institutions. Cluster A comprises Institutions A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5.

SPS said that it will take a "highly precautionary measure" to test all inmates, staff members and partners from Cluster A while the test results for those placed on quarantine order are pending.

"This is to ensure that the virus does not spread undetected within prisons, and that any asymptomatic cases are promptly identified and isolated," it said.

About 5,000 people will be progressively tested over the next few days.

Inmate activities including rehabilitation programmes will be suspended to facilitate the testing.

NO FACE-TO-FACE OR TELE-VISITS

In view of the tighter measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 community transmission, there will be no face-to-face visits and tele-visits for all inmates from May 17 until further notice. These will be replaced with phone calls, SPS said.

The measures are implemented from May 17 as face-to-face visits and tele-visits do not take place on Sundays.

Families who have already booked their visits will have them automatically converted to phone calls. Inmates may also continue to communicate with their families through e-letters.

SPS has also suspended all rehabilitation programmes conducted by vendors and volunteers during this period.

"These are important, preventive steps taken by SPS, for the safety of our inmates and their families, staff and partners, and they complement existing measures that have been in place since the onset of Covid-19," it said.

It has increased the duration of cohort segregation for newly admitted inmates from 14 to 21 days, since May 8.

Newly admitted inmates will undergo PCR tests upon admission, as well as on the 14th and 20th day of segregation.

They are allowed to join the general inmate population after testing negative at the end of the cohort segregation period. CNA

For more stories like this, visit cna.asia

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Covid-19 coronavirus Changi Prison inmates Singapore Prison Service

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