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DATE PUBLISHED: 1399/02/02 - 16:42:4
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ICRC helps SE Asian states contain coronavirus in congested prisons


ICRC staff are seen wearing personal protective equipment.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has rushed to help Southeast Asian countries prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic among prison population.

In the Philippines, where detention facilities are among the most congested in the world, the ICRC is working closely with detention officials to prepare for a possible outbreak.

The Geneva-based humanitarian institution is setting up four isolation centers for the inmates who test positive for COVID-19 or those who may show symptoms. It has also established a 48-bed isolation facility to serve detention centers in Metro Manila.

So far, almost 7,000 virus infections and 437 deaths have been confirmed in the Philippines, with one of Manilaís jails reporting a COVID-19 case.

"Jails will not be exempt from this pandemic," said deputy chief of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Dennis Rocamora. "We know that once it enters the jail, it will easily spread because the number one precaution in fighting COVID-19 what we call physical distancing - is impossible in a congested jail."

Additionally, the ICRC has stepped in to support disease control and prevention in prisons in Cambodia, where detention facilities are often overcrowded with poor ventilation.

ICRC teams are working with the Cambodian authorities to provide tonnes of much-needed hygiene and personal protection items.

ICRC staff in the Asian country are also providing training and technical support to the authorities, and working to ensure that families of detainees can remain in contact with them.

Cambodia has recorded 122 infection cases from the highly contagious virus.

"COVID-19 is a global pandemic which has consequences all around the world," said Roman Paramonov, the ICRCís head of mission in Phnom Penh. "Everyone is fighting against the virus, and itís not only Cambodia. One of our main concerns is people deprived of freedom. They are often packed in limited space, for them maintenance of social distancing is a luxury."

In Bangladesh, the ICRC is cooperating with the Prison Directorate and the Ministry of Home Affairs to make the countryís prisons ready for a possible outbreak of COVID-19.

It has distributed disinfection materials to Bangladeshís central prison in Keranigani and organized training for prison staff on how to use them.

"Bangladeshís 68 prisons are being assisted by the ICRC to establish decontamination and screening points at the entrance," said Massimo Russo, the ICRCís water and sanitation coordinator based in Dhaka. "As well as implementing disinfection processes inside the security perimeter. 68 prisons is a high number, and mobility is reduced because the country is locked down, so this poses a great challenge for us to implement our programme."

Bangladesh has reported 3,382 infections and a death toll of 110 from the coronavirus.

The virus, which causes respiratory problems, first emerged in China late last year before spreading across the globe.

 


SOURCE: PRESS TV

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/16140


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