At least 72 inmates at Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail test coronavirus positive, confirms state home minister Anil Deshmukh

As many as 72 inmates of Arthur Road jail in Mumbai have contracted coronavirus and they will be quarantined separately, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Thursday.

FP Staff May 07, 2020 21:41:16 IST
At least 72 inmates at Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail test coronavirus positive, confirms state home minister Anil Deshmukh

As many as 72 inmates of Arthur Road jail in Mumbai have contracted coronavirus and they will be quarantined separately, Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh said on Thursday.

Earlier, the state government had isolated eight prisons in the state including the Arthur Road prison, and ordered that no new person will be allowed to enter and those inside, including the jail staff, will not be allowed to leave the prison during the lockdown.

At least 72 inmates at Mumbais Arthur Road Jail test <span class=coronavirus positive confirms state home minister Anil Deshmukh" width="380" height="285" />

Representational image. Getty images

But despite the precautions, 72 inmates of Arthur Road prison were found to have contracted coronavirus after coming in contact with a cook who had caught the infection, Deshmukh told reporters in Mumbai.

"These prisoners will be quarantined with the help of the Mumbai civic body," he said.

The home minister was speaking to the media after visiting Gadchinchale village in the district where three persons including two monks were lynched by a mob on suspicion of being thieves on 16 April.

Deshmukh also said that to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus in jails, the state government had decided to release on parole some 5,000 prisoners who have been sentenced to less than seven years' imprisonment.

The Arthur Road jail, which has a capacity of only 800, is housing about 2,700 prisoners, Hindustan Times reported.

The report further quoted an unnamed senior police official claiming that the state-run JJ Hospital authorities have already collected swab samples of 150 people from the prison and more samples are being collected.

“The possibility of COVID-19 having entered the prison through BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) cleaning staff, sanitisation workers, or through essential services that used to come to the jail cannot be ruled out,” the officer told the newspaper requesting anonymity.

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Earlier in the day, The Indian Express had reported that two prison guards and an undertrial accused lodged at the jail had tested positive for the virus. Following this, a team of doctors from JJ Hospital was roped in to conduct tests on all those who could have possibly come in contact with the inmate and the prison guards, Mumbai Mirror reported.

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