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Sri Lanka bars prison visits over Covid-19 fears

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Wednesday barred personal prison visits after an inmate at the country’s largest jail here was tested positive for the coronavirus.
All prisons will stop visitors from seeing inmates with immediate effect until further notice following an inmate tested Covid-19 positive, officials said.
The inmate at the Welikada jail tested positive to Covid-19 on Tuesday.
Over 500 persons at the Welikada prison and its hospital were subjected to PCR tests, health authorities said.
Authorities also quarantined those at a prison in the north-central province’s Polonnaruwa region as the infected inmate was lodged there before being transferred to the Welikada main prison.
“All wards at the Welikada Prison were cleaned and sanitised. We generally test all prisoners who are brought to Colombo prior to sending them back. We tested him on July 3 and again on the 6 when he was tested positive.”, Ekanayake said.
Sri Lankan health authorities said they were able to prevent the spread of the virus through sustained action by way of contact tracing and strict quarantine measures. No patient from the community was detected since April 30.
Sri Lanka’s prisons are overcrowded, sometimes housing 5,000 inmates in a facility capable of holding 800, according to the pressure group.
The country has recorded 2,078 cases so far. Eleven persons have died due to the infection in the country.

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