Mogadishu Prisons Could Become Petri Dishes As Coronavirus Spreads Among the Incarcerated

Mogadishu (Somaliguardian) – In the last few days there have been fears about possible spread of coronavirus among Somalia’s jail population –families of inmates and health officials have been warning that prisons could become petri dishes for the virus.

Although government has confirmed 135 cases of the contagion, the number is likely higher than substantiated according to experts with prisons feared to become an epicenter.

One of the inmates in Mogadishu’s Central Jail speaking to Somaliguardian on the condition of anonymity for fear of being identified said he became infected along with a number of other inmates after one of the prison guards had fallen ill with coronavirus.

Somali Custodial Corps commanders declined to comment on the story about spread of coronavirus among the incarcerated in Mogadishu’s Main Jail – the country’s biggest in terms of the number of inmates held in the facility.

An officer at the prison told Somaliguardian that no tests have so far been made to confirm whether the inmates and guards contracted the virus, but many had shown symptoms of the contagion, he said.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the officer added that one of the Jail sanitation workers had first shown symptoms and that a number of inmates and guards are currently infected despite no confirmation whether the illnesses are related to coronavirus.

Officials at Somalia’s Ministry of Health contacted by Somaliguardian said they were not aware of coronavirus cases reported from jails so far, but reiterated that such a possibility could not ignored.

Earlier, the President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo pardoned 148 prisoners, however, health experts say the move was not sufficient to relieve pressure on Mogadishu’s overcrowded Central Jail.

The government has not yet planned for coronavirus outbreaks at jails in Somalia, which apart from notoriety; inmates’ lives are claimed by disease outbreaks.

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