17 Of The 25 Inmates Who Shared Cell With A COVID-19 Victim Are Now Infected In Penang

There were a total of 26 prisoners sharing a single cell at the Penang Remand Prison up until 5 October. They were isolated and quarantined after the prison received information that one inmate who died was COVID-19 positive.

Cover image via theSunDaily & Bernama

On Monday morning, 5 October, a prisoner at the Penang Remand Prison died in a cell that he was sharing with 25 other inmates. A COVID-19 test done on the 85-year-old victim came back positive.

Following which, Penang Remand Prison director Mohamed Jusoh Ismail ordered for the remaining inmates to be isolated and quarantined, according to a Bernama report that was published on 6 October.

At the time, there were no additional details provided about the inmates who had shared the cell.

On Friday morning, 9 October, healthcare workers were seen leaving the Penang Remand Prison premises after another round of thorough sanitisation exercise, stated a New Straits Times' report.

A day before that, seven of the remaining 25 inmates had already tested positive for COVID-19. They are currently being treated at the Penang Hospital, according to Mohamed Jusoh.

By 9 October, 14 of the 25 remaining inmates had become infected with the virus.

Screenshot from a New Straits Times video report that was published on 9 October.

Image via NST Online (YouTube)

Since then, more number of inmates have become infected

The Penang Remand Prison director stated that the total number of inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus was recorded at 17 as of Saturday, 10 October, Bernama reported today, 11 October.

"As of yesterday, 18 people (including the deceased) had been confirmed positive for COVID-19 while another eight who were in the same cell showed no symptoms of the disease," he said.

Of the 17 prisoners currently infected, three tested positive on Saturday, 10 October.

All 17 prisoners, who are currently being treated at the Penang Hospital, were said to be in stable condition.

This photo, dated 8 October, shows Penang Health Department personnel outside the Penang Prison.

Image via Sayuti Zainudin/Malay Mail

As of now, none of the Penang Remand Prison staff, who were screened for COVID-19 after 5 October, have been found positive

"I am a little relieved that none of the staff tested positive for COVID-19 and all prisoners have completed the screening test today. I just hope there is no transmission in the other cells," Mohamed Jusoh said.

According to him, the COVID-19 screening tests are expected to be completed today, 11 October, and that the situation in the prison was currently under control and in good condition.

However, the source of infection among the inmates remains unknown

According to Penang Remand Prison director Mohamed Jusoh, who was quoted in another Bernama report on Saturday, 10 October, while the infected inmates were in the same cell as the COVID-19 victim, the prison and health authorities haven't been able to trace the source of infection.

He said that, at present, the prison has 320 staff whose annual leave has been frozen.

This was done to ensure that sufficient manpower and smooth running of everyday operations at the Penang Remand Prison, where there are approximately 2,300 inmates.

Apart from the Penang Remand Prison, two other prisons have reported COVID-19 cases. One of which is in Tawau, Sabah and other is in Alor Star, Kedah. These two states have the most number of cases.

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Meanwhile, a viral video from Friday, 9 October, shows a man wearing the pink wristband at a petrol station in Bukit Tinggi, Klang:

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