Prison inmate who has COVID-19 is Sri Lankan arrested for overstaying in Singapore

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·3-min read
Singapore Prison Service. (SCREENSHOT: Google Maps Street View)
Singapore Prison Service. (SCREENSHOT: Google Maps Street View)

SINGAPORE — The prison inmate who was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 was a Sri Lankan who was arrested for overstaying in Singapore without a valid pass, the authorities said.

The man (case 53086) arrived in Singapore on 2 January on a short-term visit pass, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a joint statement on Tuesday night (4 August).

On Monday, the Ministry of Health reported that a 26-year-old prison inmate on short-term visit pass was an unlinked COVID-19 case. He had arrived in Singapore before the implementation of border measures, the MOH said.

The man was arrested by the ICA on 30 June and was remanded at Changi Prison Complex on 1 July, the joint statement said. Subsequently, he was sentenced on 6 July to four weeks’ jail.

Upon admission, he was subjected to the mandatory 14-day cohort segregation for all new admissions. He underwent swab tests on 2 July and 22 July, and tested negative on both occasions.

At the end of his sentence, the man was released into ICA’s custody on 27 July for repatriation to Sri Lanka. His temperature was taken three times a day and he was monitored for Acute Respiratory Infection symptoms.

On 28 July, he was escorted to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital for a medical review related to his previous hospitalisation for dengue.

As there were no flights available, he was returned to SPS’ custody on 30 July to await repatriation and underwent the mandatory 14-day cohort segregation and swab tests again. He tested positive for COVID-19 on 2 August.

The inmate is currently well. He is being housed separately from other inmates and closely monitored by medical staff.

Two other inmates who were admitted on the same day (30 July) as the man and segregated in the same isolation cell tested negative for COVID-19. They are being closely monitored by medical staff, and will undergo swab tests again at the end of the 14-day segregation period, before they are allowed to join the general inmate population.

Staff who were in contact with the man are well and the authorities will continue to monitor their health. One SPS officer, five ICA officers and five auxiliary police officers under ICA who had close contact with the man have been issued Quarantine Orders.

All areas to which the man had been have since been thoroughly disinfected.

On 19 June, SPS announced that four inmates and one staff nurse from SPS’ medical service provider had contracted COVID-19, and that these cases were not linked to one another.

The latest case involving the Sri Lankan man is also unlinked to these five previous cases.

The four inmates have since been discharged from the isolation facility after being cleared of COVID-19, and have either joined the general inmate population or been released from custody. The healthcare worker has also recovered and is back at work.

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