Hyderabad: In view of the Coronavirus outbreak in the state, the Telangana prisons and correctional services has temporarily cancelled mulaqata (visits) in all jails across the state. This move is to ensure social distancing of the inmates and to maintain proper hygiene conditions in the prisons. Family and friends can talk to the inmates on the phone and via eMulaqata until the restriction is lifted.

Speaking to NewsMeter about the precautionary measures undertaken at Chanchalguda central jail, deputy superintendent of prisons, Dr D. Srinivas said, “From 18 March no visitors will be allowed to meet any of our inmates. This is to reduce their risk of getting infected. The restriction will continue until further notice.”

At present, 5,500 inmates are lodged in central prisons across Telangana. As many as seven Indian states have already restricted mulaqata in the country.

“In Chanchalguda alone we have 1,250 inmates. None of them have shown any symptoms of Coronavirus. We are screening the new inmates coming in. We have provided face masks and hand sanitizers to all inmates. They have been asked to wash their hands every two hours. Also, we have washed their clothing and bedding. Bathing has also been made mandatory,” Mr Srinivas said.

M. Sambath, superintendent of prisons of Chanchalguda Jail, told NewsMeter, “Apart from restrictions on visitors, we have also started web conferences for all court procedures for at least next two weeks. As far as Cherlapally prison is concerned, we have a huge campus space and there are only 2,050 inmates. So there are no issues of overcrowding.”

According to the COVID-19 state bulletin released by the state health department on 16 March, Telangana has a total of 1,262 suspected cases of the novel Coronavirus. Among this, 395 symptomatic cases have been put under hospital isolation, while results are awaited for 22 patients. Also, 868 people who have not shown symptoms of COVID-19 yet have been kept in home quarantine in the state.

Dheeshma Puzhakkal

Dheeshma Puzhakkal is currently a Reporter with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University, she has interned with Greater Kashmir newspaper and NDTV. Dheeshma has also made short films and documentaries. Her documentary ‘Still I Rise’, which is based on sex-trafficking in Hyderabad’s Old City, has earned accolades in several film festivals, such as International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala (IDSFFK). An avid foodie, she loves to travel and listen to stories that others tell. Photography is one of her all-time interests. She has extensively written on satellite-based journalism, health, consumer, and data stories besides covering anti-crime investigative agencies.

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