Crowded Kepayan Prison 'doing its best' to observe social distancing

KOTA KINABALU: Kepayan Prison is doing its best to observe Covid-19 standard operating procedure, especially on physical distancing in a limited space, says Sabah Prison spokesperson Nora Musa.

As the prison had been housing inmates beyond its designated capacity for years, fully observing physical distancing was not easy, she said.

“We are trying our best and are working with health officials to come up with the best and most manageable approach on this matter,” she said when contacted Wednesday (Oct 28).

It was reported earlier this year that Kepayan Prison housed over 2,700 inmates, that is almost twice its capacity.

Sabah Prison director Datuk Suria Idris had, prior to this, said they were hoping for the situation to improve when the Lahad Datu Prison started operating.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has hampered the plan.

Nora said all personnel and inmates at the Kepayan Prison had undergone Covid-19 swab tests, and some were still waiting for the results.

She said over a 1,000 people, comprising inmates and prison wardens, had been tested positive for the virus so far.

"Those who tested positive will be separated immediately from those who tested negative, while those who are still waiting for their results are either placed with the negative ones, or in another area where possible.

"Only those with serious symptoms and effects will be taken to the hospital for more detailed care and treatment," she said.

It was learnt that health officials are on standby to attend to the situation in the prison.

Nora also said with the prison now under enhanced movement control order until Nov 2, all personnel living outside the quarters had been directed to stay within the prison compound until the situation improved.

"We have used all available spaces in the prison compound, including the offices, mini halls and surau to house personnel who have to stay inside," she said.

She also wanted to know when the Armed Forces’ medical unit that Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said would be dispatched to the Kepayan Prison would arrive.

Ismail had, on Oct 20, said the Armed Forces had agreed to set up a makeshift treatment centre to support the Covid-19 medical facility at the prison.

According to Nora, the Armed Forces had set up the tents but the operations had yet to commence.

Meanwhile, she thanked the public, companies, NGOs and government agencies and departments for their contributions which comprise food and cleanliness products over the past weeks.

She said although the prison had its allocation, such contributions were still helpful due to the circumstances.

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Kepayan Prison , Covid-19 , SOP


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