Inmates at Westville Prison have been infected with the coronavirus.  It  was alleged that officers were bringing infections from outside when reporting to work.  Picture: Oupa Mokoena  African News Agency (ANA)
Inmates at Westville Prison have been infected with the coronavirus. It was alleged that officers were bringing infections from outside when reporting to work. Picture: Oupa Mokoena African News Agency (ANA)

Inmates accuse officials of bringing Covid-19 to prison and infecting them

By Nkululeko Nene Time of article published Jul 5, 2020

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Seven new cases of Covid-19 were recorded at Westville Prison on Friday, three of which were inmates.

It has been alleged that officers were bringing the infection from outside when reporting to work.

Three Grade 12 inmates at Usethubeni Youth School and four officials from the Medium C section were reported to have tested positive for Covid-19. A source from Medium C section accused the management of concealing information of members who were infected.

He said the virus spread to warders because they reported for duty without masks.

He claimed there had been about six new infections reported since last week.

“Almost every day there are new infections but the officials are hiding information of the number of infections. Members were also responsible for the spread, they transmit the virus from their communities.

“We deserve to know who is infected so we could avoid contact with them to stay safe. Some members who tested positive were not quarantined but have been seen reporting to work. Some members enter the prison with no masks at the main gate,” he said.

He also claimed that the area in which a member worked, who tested positive, had not been fumigated.

However, the Department of Correctional Services’s spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo, could not confirm the number of new infections at Westville Prison this week. He said there were only three new cases reported in KwaZulu-Natal.

Nxumalo said he could not disclose further details.

“Due to extreme stigmatisation that our officials have been subjected to, we no longer disclose centres where inmates or officials are based. It’s so abhorrent. Our officials are being insulted and denied entry into some shops,” he said.

Nxumalo added that the department was following all the procedures detailed by the Department of Health in terms of tracing direct contacts and decontamination of the area.

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