Screening of prisoners for virus ordered within a week

Published March 17, 2020
Besides inmates, body temperature of the jail staff also be checked before entering the premises of these detention facilities. — Photo courtesy Creative Commons/File
Besides inmates, body temperature of the jail staff also be checked before entering the premises of these detention facilities. — Photo courtesy Creative Commons/File

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday directed the provincial authorities for complete screening of inmates confined in all the detention facilities of the province in view of coronavirus outbreak within a week.

SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh also ordered the chief secretary Sindh and inspector general prisons to provide temperature guns to every prison and lock-up on emergency basis.

The chief secretary was further asked to depute a team/rapid response unit of paramedics/doctors in every central prison of Sindh for immediate response and also take steps in this regard in consultation with the secretary health and IG prisons Sindh.

The chief justice also directed the authorities concerned that in case any inmate was infected with coronavirus, steps must be taken to keep him/her in isolation as per the standards.

He observed that in wake of reported coronavirus cases across the country, it was imperative to have complete screening of all inmates/prisoners confined in prison and lock-ups, which were already overcrowded and chances of spared of this highly infectious virus were quite high.

Besides inmates, body temperature of the jail staff also be checked before entering the premises of these detention facilities and they may be advised to sanitize their hands at regular intervals, he said.

The chief justice further asked the provincial authorities that jail doctors must remain vigilant and guide the inmates on how to keep themselves safe in case any inmates suffer from flue, fever, headache or any other symptoms closely related to the coronavirus.

The SHC also asked the authorities to complete the screening process of inmates and file compliance report within a week.

Earlier, the SHC had also asked the provincial authorities to launch a fumigation drive in the prisons of the province and to prevent unnecessary entry of public at the detention facilities.

Besides proper fumigation on the premises of SHC Karachi and its benches at Hyderabad, Larkana and Sukkur as well as at the district judiciary of the province, the SHC had also ruled that the persons whose attendance was required by the courts may only be allowed to enter the courtrooms.

Meanwhile, sources said that an important meeting of SHC to be headed by the chief justice was likely to be held on Tuesday to discuss some important issues including a proposal for early summer vacation in courts across the province in view of spreading of pandemic novel coronavirus in the country.

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2020

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