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One inmate dead, 100 tested positive to Covid-19 in Diavata prison

Authorities were on alert about the rising numbers of coronavirus infections at Diavata prison by Thessaloniki, especially after a 69-year-old inmate died on Thursday of Covid-19 and another 108 prisoners and staff are in quarantine after tested positive to Covid-19.

The deceased inmate, who had reportedly been vaccinated for the flu on November 4, was hospitalized on November 7. The man had underlying heart issues and other health problems, media reported.

Of those infected in Diavata prison – 100 inmates and 8 staff – all are asymptomatic and have been placed in quarantine.

Accordion to data by the Ministry for Citizen Protection, prisons are overcrowded given the pandemic situation. A report on Nov 2 stated that there11,427 inmates in prisons for 10,175 positions.

According to the Initiative for Inmates Rights there is no provision for he vulnerable among the inmates such as people with serious underlying health problems, elderly, women who recently gave birth.

“There is overcrowding, miserable living conditions, absence of protective material (masks, disinfectants, gloves) and basic disinfection,” the Initiative told tvxs.

Now in panic, authorities plan to transfer 24 inmates who were tested negative but belong to vulnerable groups from Diavata to the hospital of Korydallos prison in Athens.

State-run news agency amna reported that the first infection at Diavata was identified on October 20. By November 6, the infections had reached 65. On that date, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) took 160 sample tests among inmates and tested the entire staff of 98.

Another 220 rapid tests were conducted Thursday and Friday.

The jail is under emergency measures, with a ban on all but necessary visits and general lockdown.

Responding to a question in Parliament by Movement for Change (KINAL), Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Lefteris Economou said on Friday that staff in all prisons will be tested weekly.

The inmates will be tested on a random basis, with priority on prisons with a high viral load. In addition, he reiterated a decision on November 11, according to which, if necessary, two hospitals in Attica will set up special units for sick prisoners.

Note that several groups representing inmates have been denouncing all the time since the outbreak that there were absolutely no measures to protect them from the pandemic.

Occasionally there has been visitors’ ban with the effect that prisoners could get neither summer nor winter clothes.

The only measure was “14 days self-isolation for those transferred from elsewhere” and in extraordinary miserable conditions.

Medical services are inadequate.

To be fair, conditions in prisons often depend also on the facility director or the category of prison.

PS Greek gov’t reaction is now the usual: we react the moment situations get out of control.

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