Days after a 62-year-old inmate of Mandoli Jail died due to COVID-19, 17 others who shared barrack with him tested positive for the disease on Monday, prison officials said.
The first inmate, Kanwar Singh, lodged in Central Jail number 14, Mandoli, died in his sleep on June 15. His test report for COVID-19 came back positive on Saturday, following which 29 inmates who shared barrack with him were also tested, according to officials.
Mr Singh's is the first case of a Delhi prison inmate dying due to the contagious respiratory disease, reported news agency PTI.
Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel said of the 29 inmates who were tested, reports of 17 came back positive on Monday. The remaining 12 inmates have tested negative for the disease.
All the 17 inmates who tested positive have been shifted to a separate barrack in Central Jail number 14 and their health is being closely monitored by the jail doctor. As of now, they are alright, he said.
The 12 inmates who tested negative have also been separately quarantined, he added.
In the wake of an increase in COVID-19 cases in prisons, the officials said, the jail staff and inmates have been briefed to remain extra careful, take all necessary precautions and follow social distancing norms.
Till now, 40 inmates of Delhi Prison have been tested positive for COVID-19, out of which 16 have recovered and one died. As many as 46 prison staff members have also tested positive for the disease. Of these, 12 have recovered so far, according to the officials.
Delhi Prison comprises Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini jails.
Singh was in jail since July 6, 2018. He was lodged in the senior citizens'' barrack of Central Jail number 14. He was asymptomatic and the cause of his death was ascertained after a COVID-19 test was conducted on his body, the officials said.
He was serving life imprisonment in a 2016 murder case, they said.