In a statement, the department said the number of active Covid-19 cases among detainees and staff had increased from 673 cases to 1,126 as of yesterday.
“The spread among detainees began in Tawau prison when an inmate from Lahad Datu was tested positive for Covid-19 on Sept 2.
“The next cluster was detected at the Alor Setar prison on Sept 29,” said Prisons Department director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Omar.
The government has placed the Alor Setar prison under targeted enhanced movement control order (MCO) for 14 days following a rise in Covid-19 infections there.
The department said it would follow the current standard operating procedure set by the Health Ministry, including to treat, quarantine and curb the spread of the virus related to its staff and the protection of inmates nationwide.
Besides that, the department will also strengthen the SOP in prisons.
It will also take additional measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections, such as placing detainees who committed drug offences under Section 15(1) of the Dangerous Drug Act by moving them to several National Service (NS) camps which are gazetted as temporary prisons.
“The total number of inmates that can be accommodated in the NS camps are between 2,300 and 2,800,” it added.
The Prisons Department will also implement the Licensed Prisoner Release programme (PBSL) on those with convictions of less than one year with the remainder of sentences less than three months, with some 11,018 inmates eligible under the programme.
“All inmates who are released under PBSL must undergo the department’s strict screening process and another under the Health Ministry to ensure they are free from Covid-19,” it added.