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Bangladesh reports first prison coronavirus case

Prison guard may have contracted virus at one of Dhaka’s most crowded hospitals while guarding inmates, says doctor

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 22.04.2020
Bangladesh reports first prison coronavirus case An aerial view of nearly empty roads in Dhaka city during the government-imposed lockdown as a preventive measure against the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Dhaka, Bangladesh in April, 2020. ( Zakir Hossain Chowdhury - Anadolu Agency )

DHAKA, Bangladesh 

Bangladesh reported its first prison case of the novel coronavirus late Tuesday after a guard at Dhaka Central Jail tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to a hospital.   

“Mohammad Yasin, 28, is the first COVID-19 patient in a jail,” leading English language daily newspaper New Age reported, citing the prison’s doctor Mahmudul Hasan as saying.   

For the last couple of days, Yasin performed his duties at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), one of the country’s most crowded hospitals in the capital.  

Yasin might have contracted the virus at DMCH, where he was guarding prison inmates, said Hasan.   

All four of Yasin’s roommates have been sent to home quarantine.

The report has raised concern among inmates as well as prison authorities across the country.

According to government data, the country’s 68 prisons house around 90,000 inmates, more than double the overall capacity, with nearly 10,000 at the central jail.

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Bangladesh in early March, the country’s prison authorities have been keeping any new inmates quarantined for two weeks.

Dozens of prisoners have already been quarantined with coronavirus symptoms, according to media reports.

In a cabinet meeting on April 6, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructed authorities to release 3,000 inmates to minimize the risk of the spread of the coronavirus in prisons, according to local media reports.

The South Asian nation of more than 165 million people reported 110 deaths from the virus as of Tuesday with 2,382 confirmed cases and 87 recoveries.

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