Covid-19: Prison cases climb to 1 622, with 12 deaths

Covid-19 continues to plague prisons.
Covid-19 continues to plague prisons.
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  • Of the infected people in SA's prisons, 623 are officials and 999 are inmates.
  • 665 have recovered from the virus. 
  • To curb the spread of the virus, the department is releasing 19 000 "low risk" prisoners from its 240 prisons.

The number of Covid-19 cases across South African prisons has climbed to 1 622, with 12 deaths recorded so far, and 665 recoveries.

Department of Correctional Services Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said 623 of those testing positive were officials, while 999 were inmates.

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A total of 665 people had recovered, said Nxumalo. Eight deaths have occurred in the Western Cape and four in the Eastern Cape.

News24 reported that, in order to curb the spread of the virus in prisons, the department was releasing 19 000 "low risk" prisoners from its 240 prisons.

Violent crimes

This, however, does not include those serving sentences for violent crimes.

Murderers, rapists, child abusers and terrorists are among those who will not be considered for the early release.

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With a total inmate population of 156 000, an outbreak in the country's prisons would be catastrophic, the department warned.

The offenders will be released in a phased process, starting with women, children and elderly inmates.

They will be followed by offenders with shorter sentences and then those with longer sentences, the department said.

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