JAKARTA, Indonesia

Malaysia on Wednesday recorded a total of 1,126 active COVID-19 cases among prison inmates and staff across the country.

Zulkifli Omar, head of the Prisons Department, said coronavirus transmission among inmates started when Tawau Prison in Sabah received a new inmate from Lahad Datu, who tested positive early this month.

“The other cluster was detected in Alor Setar Prison on Sept. 29 and we are handling this issue seriously,” said Zulkifli in a press release on Wednesday.

Prisons are taking all necessary measures to comply with standard Health Ministry procedures to treat, quarantine, and curb the spread of COVID-19 in all aspects of prison management, it added.

Health Director General Noor Hisham Abdullah on Tuesday said Malaysia reported 691 new cases on Tuesday, including 688 local cases and 394 in the Alor Setar Prison.

To stem COVID-19 transmission among inmates, the department decided to move drug-related inmates to temporary prisons in several national service training camps.

“The total number that can be accommodated by these camps is estimated at between 2,300 and 2,800 inmates,” Zulkifli added.

He also asked the public to remain calm, as the spread of COVID-19 among inmates occurred only in closed, tightly controlled prison areas.

The country has so far recorded 13,504 COVID-19 cases with 10,427 recoveries and 141 deaths.

*Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita

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