November 13, 2020

Two Jails Battle COVID-19 Spread


Inside Mageragere prison in Kigali during new celebrations on December 31, 2019. The facility has nearly 12,000 inmates

The Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) and health officials are investigating how COVID-19 reached two jails yet visits have been banned since March.

Mageragere prison in Kigali, a maximum security facility on Wednesday recorded 27 cases, following up on 13 cases that had been identified three days earlier in Nsinda prison in Rwamagana district, eastern Rwanda.

RCS says it has yet to determine how the virus reached its facilities despite the strict measures in place.

Since March, public visits have been banned, and two senior prison directors were nearly jailed for accepting a family visit for a senior government official recently sentenced to a heavy term for corruption.

Inmates with court cases have been conducted virtually, with some even done via phones where video systems are unable to work.

New arrivals to jail have been tested before admission into prison, says RCS.

However, some high profile cases like that of Hotel Rwanda movie personality Paul Rusesabagina have been conducted physically in court, with him coming from Mageragere jail which has COVID-19 cases.

It may be obvious for the virus to have been identified in Mageragere jail, but it has left everyone wondering how it reached the jail in Rwamagana.

Apart from Wednesday when 50 cases were identified, the rate remains low for past two weeks.

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