At least two people within the Uganda Prisons Service jurisdiction have succumbed to Covid-19 out of the 141 active cases in the same facilities, the prisons authority revealed on Monday.
This comes as new Covid-19 statutory instruments place a two-month jail sentence upon conviction of a violation of the pandemic standard operating procedures.
While speaking to the media in Kampala, the prisons spokesperson, Frank Baine said that so far two people have succumbed to the disease including an inmate from Masaka and a wife to one of the prison staff at Luzira.
“We [prisons] have a cumulative number of cases of Covid-19 of 1,438. Of these 1,289 are prisoners, 117 are staff and 31 are staff families or relatives. Fortunately we have had 1,301 recoveries and in our respective treatment centres, we have 141 cases. In total we have registered two deaths, one of prisoner and one of a staff,” he said
Baine noted that there is a rise in the Covid-19 infections in the prisons across the country but they are handling the situation together with the Ministry of Health.
He appealed to members of the public to stay vigilant and observe guidelines put in place to stem the spread of Covid-19 because they will not hesitate to accommodate them in prison once arrested.
“They have told you when they get you violating curfew, you will pay money but the majority don’t have the money. So now they have two months [in prisons for violating Covid-19 measures]. I can assure you that prisons are congested but we still have space for those who will want to continue to violate the orders of the government,” he said.
Baine explained that although the situation in the prisons is not all good at the moment, in terms of the increasing cases Covid-19 infections, they are handling these together with the Ministry of Health.
“We have no authority to allow a prisoner out of the country to go for treatment. There has never been a case where a prisoner is taken out of the country for medication. The law is clear on how prisoners should be treated when they fall sick,” he said.