UPDATE: Singapore Prison Services provided additional information on the infected inmate on Saturday (20 June).
SINGAPORE — An inmate at Changi Prison who was confirmed by authorities on Friday (19 June) as a new COVID-19 community case is not linked to four previously announced cases there.
All inmates who were admitted into the prison on 6 June, the same day as the infected inmate, have also tested negative and are currently well, said the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) in response to media queries.
“They are being closely monitored and will undergo another swab test before they are allowed to join the general inmate population,” SPS said.
The SPS had announced on 30 May that three inmates tested positive on 21 April, 22 April and 9 May, while the fourth case, a staff nurse working at the prison, tested positive on 24 April.
The newly-admitted inmate – the lone community case among 142 new infections on Friday – had tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday.
The 21-year-old man, a Sri Lankan inmate on a social visit pass, was admitted to Changi Prison Complex on 6 June as a remand prisoner.
He was sentenced on 12 June via video-conferencing to four weeks’ imprisonment and three strokes of the cane for the offence of overstaying. He had arrived in Singapore on 10 January.
“As part of the SPS’ precautionary measures, all new admissions must undergo 14-day cohort segregation. They will undergo a swab test for COVID-19 at the start and end of the segregation period before they are allowed to join the general inmate population,” SPS said in a media statement on Saturday.
The inmate had tested negative at the point of admission. He was detected to be infected with COVID-19 on 18 June, while still undergoing cohort segregation.
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“On 18 June, he tested positive for the virus following swab tests, whilst still undergoing cohort segregation,” it added.
The SPS said the man has been asymptomatic and is currently well. As such, he does not require treatment or medication.
He has been transferred to a separate prison facility outside of Changi Prison, and isolated, with his condition closely monitored by medical staff, it added.
The SPS said it is working closely with the Ministry of Health on the contact tracing efforts for this case.
“SPS staff who manage new admissions have taken the necessary precautions such as donning the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and remain well.
“The SPS is committed to our mission of ensuring the safe and secure custody of inmates. We will continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation, and adopt additional measures as necessary to ensure the health and safety of inmates and staff,” the SPS said.
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