Corrections Dept. claims protest leader ‘Rung’ did not contract COVID-19 in prison
Thailand’s Corrections Department said today (Thursday) that anti-establishment protest leader Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul did not contract COVID-19 in detention, after the 22-year-old announced her infection yesterday.
Panusaya was in quarantine between April 23rd and May 5th, and that “100%” active screening has been conducted at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution, where she was held, said Deputy Director-General of the Corrections Department Weerakit Harnpariphan.
“Ms. Panusaya did not go outside the prison or engage in any activities before her release on May 6th. 100% active screening was conducted again on May 8th, in the zone in which Ms. Panusaya was quarantined. No inmate who stayed with her had COVID-19,” said Dr. Weerakit.
Another detained protest leader Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, whose COVID-19 result was positive today, has been sent to the Corrections Hospital, according to the official.
2,835 inmates are reported to have contracted COVID-19 in two Bangkok prisons, according to the department yesterday. All of them have been sent to hospital, while some family members have been contacted, in accordance with each inmate’s wishes, said the department’s Director-General Ayut Sinthopphan.
There will be COVID-19 testing in prison every week, said Mr. Ayut, adding that prisons with a large number of infected inmates can seek permission from the governor, and their local health authority, to set up field hospitals within the prison compound.
The department is proceeding according to the Public Health Ministry’s guidelines, the director-general said, including the “Bubble and Seal” practice for prisons with a large number of infections, reducing the number of new inmates, testing inmates before and after court appearances or opting for teleconference hearings.
Some prison officials have been instructed to work from home, reduce physical contact with their families and are required to undergo swab tests every two weeks, he said.