Prisons wary of coronavirus 

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ZIMBABWE Prisons are taking precautions through minimising visits amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) scare in the country and have called for the government to speed up the prisoners’ amnesty that will see the release of 6 000 prisoners countrywide.
In their statement, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) said it is vital to minimise visits to prisons in light of further developments around coronavirus, particularly at a time when gatherings are discouraged until the situation normalises.
“Prisons are confined institutions. Communicable diseases such as Covid-19, among others have greater chances of spreading in these places and could pose serious health and logistical challenges, should cases of the virus get recorded,” ZPCS public relations officer, superintendent Khanyezi Meya said.
According to the Health and Child Care ministry statement Zimbabwe has since recorded two confirmed cases of coronavirus.
He added that prisons put measures in place to protect inmates through good hygiene, hence the need for provision of sanitisers, soaps, detergents and most importantly, sufficient water.
“It is ideal that our organisation takes preventive measures to curb the transmission and to begin with, it is desirable that an amnesty to free some offenders be implemented to ease pressure on the prison population which is above holding capacity,” Meya said.
This comes after the government announced recently that it was going to set free up to 6 000 prisoners under an amnesty to decongest the country’s jails and among those set to be pardoned are prisoners serving time for nonviolent crimes.
However, with the coronavirus now in the country, ZPCS is calling for the amnesty to be pushed forward as a way of combating the deadly virus that has claimed more than 6 000 lives worldwide and continue to claim lives.

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