A newly installed oxygen plant at a hospital in Tihar prison will be made operational in four days while all dispensaries in the three jail complexes of Delhi have been designated as Covid care centres amid a surge in infections, officials said on Sunday. As part of steps taken against the spread of the viral disease in Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini jail complexes, many medical isolation cells have been set up for inmates showing slight symptoms of Covid-19, they said.
Those who test positive but are asymptomatic will be kept in separate isolation cells within the same jail complex. The Tihar Prison comprises central jails number one to nine, the Rohini complex houses central jail number 10 while the Mandoli prison complex houses central jails number 11 to 16.
The 120-bed hospital in Tihar and the 48-bed facility in Mandoli have been converted into Covid Health Centres with the round-the-clock presence of doctors, 50 oxygen concentrators and over 100 cylinders and essential medicines to treat patients. “However, if the condition of any Covid-positive inmate turns serious, then he or she would be immediately shifted to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital or Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital,” a senior jail official said.
The newly installed oxygen plant will be functional mostly within four days, the official said. The jail administration said they have formed four committees for the inmate and staff who test Covid positive. Each of these panels has been divided into four jurisdictions with each comprising four members, including jail staff and officers, tasked with looking after them if they need further help and guidance.
Sandeep Goel, Director (Delhi Prisons) said, “We are fully prepared to deal with the covid situation. In the first and second waves also, we had taken various stringent measures and that was the reason we could keep the infection rate less and casualties to the minimum. We will also tackle the ongoing pandemic confidently.” “We make a separate barracks for old inmates where we keep few young prisoners along with them. Temperature and oxygen level of these inmates are checked daily and if someone shows any Covid symptom, they are isolated immediately,” Goel said. All the new inmates will have to undergo quarantine for 10 days and mandatorily undergo the rapid-antigen test, the officer said.
Social distancing among staff and inmates is followed to the extent possible. Inmates are mostly restricted to within their wards and an educational and awareness programme about following Covid norms are carried out regularly, officials said. The total number of prisoners in all the three jails of Delhi Prisons as of January 7 was 18,528. Tihar has a maximum of 12,669 inmates, Mandoli 4,018 and Rohini 1,841.
As of January 8, a total of 34 inmates are Covid positive. Of them, 19 are from Tihar and 15 from Mandoli. Of the 40 staff members infected, 25 are from Tihar, 11 from Rohini and four from Mandoli. In 2020, a total of 120 inmates of Delhi Prisons tested positive for the Covid, out of which two died. All the 293 Covid positive employees recovered.
Last year, 383 inmates tested positive and eight of them died. Among the 225 staff infected, all of them recovered. The inoculation status of inmates of Delhi Prisons as of December 31 was, 22,620 have been administered the vaccine of which 15,452 got the first dose and 7,168 got the second shot.