50 prisoners contract coronavirus in Pakistan's jailsPTI | Lahore | Updated: 07-04-2020 21:08 IST | Created: 07-04-2020 20:57 IST
At least 50 prisoners at a jail in Pakistan's worst-hit Punjab province have tested coronavirus positive, an official said on Tuesday. "The total number of prisoners infected with the coronavirus in Punjab has reached 50 so far. Some 525 prisoners have been quarantined in separate cells of the province," Inspector General Prisons Shahid Baig told PTI.
He said some 20 cases have been reported in the camp jail Lahore and the remaining in others. Baig said the outbreak stemmed from a Pakistani citizen who was arrested over narcotics smuggling in Italy and handed over to Pakistan last month. He was diagnosed on March 23.
"He was kept at the camp jail Lahore where he had infected several others. As soon as he tested positive, we immediately quarantined him and others suspected corona inmates," he said. The authorities have shifted some 800 prisoners from the camp jail to other prisons in Punjab, he added.
The official said the home department also banned visits of prisoners' relatives in all 41 prisons of Punjab. Meanwhile, the number Tablighi Jamaat infected members on Tuesday spiked to 540 in Punjab province.
According to officials, some 400 preachers quarantined at the Raiwind Tablighi Markaz (headquarters) tested positive for coronavirus. "A total of 540 Tablighi Jamaat members have been infected across Punjab so far," said an official of the Punjab health department.
Similarly, the total number of infected Shia pilgrims who had arrived in Punjab from Iran last month has reached 577. They are quarantined in Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan and Faisalabad districts of Punjab. On Tuesday, the total number of COVID-19 cases spiked to 4,000 with 54 death. Punjab has more cases (2,000) than other provinces of the country.