Pekanbaru Women's Prison 'Overwhelmed' as 28 Inmates Contracted Covid-19



Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Women's Prison Class IIA in Pekanbaru, Riau, is "overwhelmed" as 28 inmates tested positive for Covid-19. The prison lacks the required facility to isolate the female prisoners with Covid-19 from the rest of the inmates.

    "We are in great need of help, especially to conduct swab tests on all of our inmates, because it has spread everywhere. If we have massive testing, there is hope that we can perhaps contain it," Ema Tarigan, warden of the Pekanbaru Women's Prison, told ANTARA in Pekanbaru, Thursday, October 1.

    The prison has become a large cluster of Covid-19 outbreak in Pekanbaru after a prison employee transmitted the virus to inmates. 

    According to Ema, three prison workers tested positive. Then, the prison held random tests among prisoners and found more people had contracted the virus.  

    "It is likely they got it from out security workers who made contact with the prisoners," she said. 

    The prison had so far conducted three swab tests; twice independently and once with the help of the local Health Department. However, not every inmate was tested.

    In total, only 80 prisoners had taken swab tests, while the facility has 319 inmates.  

    Ema said that the inmates who tested positive for Covid-19 are now isolated in five rooms—separated from other inmates. Prisoners who had not taken the tests but are showing symptoms are also separated from those without symptoms.

    The prison workers are mandated to wear PPE on duty. Ema said she had written to the Pekanbaru Health Department asking for a special isolation ward for the prisoner. She has yet to receive an answer.  

    Read: Coronavirus: 21 NTT Inmates Released to Prevent Overcrowding