Correctional services to intensify mass testing after two officials test positive for Covid-19

09 April 2020 - 22:07 By Nonkululeko Njilo
Two prison wardens have tested positive in East London. File picture.
Two prison wardens have tested positive in East London. File picture.
Image: 123RF/Stockstudio44

Two correctional services officials in East London have tested positive for Covid-19, prompting mass testing.

This is according to correctional services department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo, who said staff and inmates were being screened.

A female official at the East London Correctional Centre, in Westbank, has tested positive for Covid-19, the department of correctional services said late on Monday.

On Thursday night — just moments before President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a two-week extension to the nationwide lockdown — Nxumalo said that a second official had tested positive.

As a result of the two cases, Nxumalo said 73 other officials had since been tested for the virus. Thirty-two of them have been asked to self-isolate at home after they came in contact with the first positive case.

“Inmates were also screened, and a total of 31 had already been tested by the end of business on April 8 2020. The screening and testing for officials and inmates is ongoing, and measures are in place to provide support to those who may test positive for Covid-19. Testing will also be conducted on those residing within DCS premises,” said Nxumalo.

He said the department would intensify prevention measures.

“Prevention measures will continue to be intensified, while a mass-screening schedule for all correctional centres shall assist the department in its efforts of averting the transmission of the virus.

“Correctional services would like to wish the two officials a speedy recovery, and we remain committed to the well-being of inmates and our officials,” added Nxumalo.