In the first case of COVID-19 at a Punjab prison, a 48-year-old woman inmate at the Ludhiana jail has tested positive for coronavirus, officials said on Sunday. The woman, who tested positive for COVID-19 on May 1, is facing charges under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. She was brought to the prison by the Sangrur Police on April 28.
The Punjab government has so far released 9,773 inmates from all the jails in order to decongest state prisons in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the officials. There were around 24,000 prisoners lodged in 24 jails across the state against an authorised capacity of 23,488, they said.
The state government had decided to release convicts on parole and undertrial prisoners on interim bails. The decision to release prisoners was taken to protect their health and restrict transmission of COVID-19 by decongestion of prisons. Those convicted or charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Explosives Act and acid attacks were not considered for release, the officials said.
The Punjab government had also announced to turn two jails -- Barnala and Patti prions -- into quarantine centres for new inmates to check the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.