No prison visits, paroles until further notice

Rosidek speaking during a meeting. File photo: Sarawak Education Department’s Facebook

KUCHING: The Sri Aman Prison will prohibit any visits from the public and paroles for inmates until further notice following the sudden spike of positive Covid-19 cases reported there.

Sarawak Prison director Mohamad Rosidek Musa said this was one of the measures taken by the prison to ensure that the outbreak was contained within the area and not spread to the community.

“Apart from that, we have also submitted an application to postpone all trials and hearings of criminal cases in open court,” he told New Sarawak Tribune when contacted on Monday (April 5).

The Sri Aman Prison recorded 159 positive cases on Sunday (April 4), followed by the announcement of a new cluster — Tembok Cluster. To date, 322 prisoners or 48 percent of the total number were reported positive.

Elaborating on the matter, Rosidek clarified that the prison had been complying with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the authorities strictly.

He explained that before being admitted to the prison, new detainees would first be quarantined in a designated area located outside the main prison building for 14 days.

They were required to undergo Covid-19 screening tests on the second and tenth days of quarantine. After testing negative for both screenings, they would then be moved into the main prison building.

“The SOPs issued by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) were properly put in place and we did not compromise on this. However, what was feared proceeded to happen.

“We do not know for sure how this situation managed to occur because the virus itself is an invisible enemy and often times, the virus carrier might be asymptomatic,” he said, adding that the virus might have slipped in undetected.