KARACHI: The Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has expressed grave concern for prisoners in Sindh’s jails on Wednesday.

As the spread of the coronavirus pandemic to every nook and cranny has driven the country towards a lockdown, the plight of citizens in Sindh’s jails needs to be taken care of, it said in a statement.

The coronavirus is contagious and spreads easily from person to person. The latest information also suggests that the coronavirus appears to be airborne. Hence, keeping in view the intensity of the threat the pandemic is posing to the masses, the commission suspects that jails could become breeding grounds for the virus if not taken care of as a timely measure.

The commission filed information through various governmental sources on different occasions that the jails in Sindh are overcrowded and hence the commission believes that all the inmates, whether undertrials or convicts, are at a greater risk of contracting and multiplying the coronavirus with thousands of other inmates.

Hence, keeping in view the enormous risk factor, the commission urges the authorities to add jails of the province in their mitigation plan by introducing coronavirus testing services inside each jail of the province, the formation of an isolation ward and quarantine facility inside jail premises with the provision of medical and paramedical staff and identify and closely monitor the aged and weak inmates as well as those with pre-existing medical conditions and shift them to separate barracks.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2020