Bahrain Says it has Dealt with Prison COVID-19 Outbreak
2021-03-26 - 5:34 am
Bahrain Mirror- Reuters: Bahraini authorities on Thursday said a number of cases of coronavirus discovered in a prison earlier this week had been isolated and the individuals concerned were stable.
On Tuesday the authority in charge of prisons said three cases had been discovered. It said contacts had been isolated and sterile cleaning had been carried out.
Western-allied Bahrain has come under pressure from human rights organisations over prison conditions including overcrowding, poor sanitation and lack of medical care.
Hundreds of opposition politicians, activists, journalists and human rights defenders are in prison following an uprising in 2011 and subsequent years of government crackdowns.
Opposition figures have said at least six inmates in Jaw prison have had positive COVID-19 test results this week.
Dissolved opposition group al-Wefaq, which has called for the release of prisoners of conscience since the start of the pandemic, said inmates' health had been exhausted by years of torture and inhumane conditions.
"Al-Wefaq holds the regime fully responsible for what is happening inside the prisons," the group said in a statement about the latest outbreak.
Bahrain has freed some prisoners considered at risk, such as pregnant women, in response to the pandemic.
Bahrain also said on Thursday that all inmates who had registered for vaccination have now been vaccinated.
Bahrain's government denies carrying out torture.
A government spokesman told Reuters that all positive cases were currently stable and able to receive medical treatment, if required, but did not confirm the number of cases and did not address al-Wefaq's accusations.
"Comprehensive health protections have been put in place in all prison facilities since the outbreak of the pandemic," the spokesman said, adding that inmates and employees were being routinely tested.