COVID at Mahara Prison due to negligence-SJB

2020-12-02 at 13:57

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya has charged that the spread of COVID-19 in the Mahara Prison was due to the irresponsible actions of a prison official.

Speaking at a media briefing held in Colombo today Parliamentarian Hesha Withanage said the outbreak at the prison was caused by a violation of the PCR test procedure for inmates by the relevant officer.

He stated according to the information received there was no high COVID-19 risk at the Mahara Prison, adding the only instance the risk may have entered the prison is through prison officials, because an agreement was reached and a circular was issued by the Ministry of Health and Department of Prisons to conduct a PCR test on inmates prior to taking them into custody, to prevent the virus from entering prison.

He said Only those who tested negative were taken into custody, adding the circular was being implemented at the Mahara Prison.

However he noted Assistant Director of the Prisons Department Dr. Hemantha Ranasinghe who is a member of the Viyathmaga and active in politics, sent 120 inmates from the Welikada Prison to the Mahara Prison without a basis, violating the circular.

MP Withanage said when PCR tests were conducted on them two tested positive for COVID-19, adding 59 inmates were sent from the Bogambara Prison of which one tested positive.

He claimed that is how the virus entered the Mahara Prison.