Malaysian drug trafficker had negative ART before being brought to court: SPS

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
An activist holds a placard before submitting a memorandum to parliament in protest at the impending execution of Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam.
An activist holds a placard before submitting a memorandum to parliament in protest at the impending execution of Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam. (PHOTO: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Malaysian drug trafficker whose execution was stayed after he had contracted COVID-19 had tested negative in his antigen rapid test (ART) before being brought to court on Tuesday (9 November).

The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) said in a media release on Tuesday evening that Nagaenthran K Darmalingam was administered both an ART and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on Monday. On the same day, his ART had come back with a negative result.

He was subsequently brought to court on Tuesday noon, before his PCR test result was known. Upon receiving the test result later that afternoon, SPS immediately informed the court and Nagaenthran was isolated.

"In view of the situation, the Court of Appeal granted a stay of the judicial execution with immediate effect until all pending proceedings are concluded," SPS said in the media release. 

"Nagaenthran will receive medical attention and proceedings will resume on a date to be fixed, after Nagaenthran has recovered."

SPS said that Nagaenthran is well and asymptomatic. While he did not report any illness prior to his court hearing, he has not been vaccinated as he had opted not to receive any COVID-19 vaccine.

His family has been informed and will continue to be provided with necessary support, said the prison service.

Several inmates, staff have tested positive for COVID-19

SPS also said in the media release that several inmates and staff from Institution A1, the prison institution where Nagaenthran is housed, have tested positive for COVID-19. Affected housing units have been locked down to prevent further spread of the virus. 

According to the prison service, Nagaenthran had only transient contact with two staff who had tested positive.

It added that, as of Sunday, 97 per cent of eligible inmates have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 90 per cent have completed both doses. As for the prison staff, 99.5 per cent have completed both doses of vaccination.

Staff and partners entering prison facilities must undergo ART twice weekly, while external personnel entering prisons on an ad-hoc basis are required to undergo an ART prior to each entry into prisons.

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