Kenya Prisons Suspend Visits for 30 Days to Tame Coronavirus Pandemic

Second hand clothes on display at a stall in Toi Market in Nairobi.

The Kenya Prisons Service has suspended all visits for 30 days to curtail the coronavirus outbreak.

State Department for Correctional Services Principal Secretary Zeinab Hussein said the government has put in place adequate measures to complement efforts to fight the pandemic.

She said the order applies to visits to prison lines, Borstal institutions and youth corrective training centres across the country.

The injunction has also been extended to prison staff. Ms Hussein said the step will minimise face-to-face contact with civilians.

"The Kenya Prisons Service has put in place adequate contingent measures and is fully prepared to protect those in custody, whose population currently stands at approximately 54,000 inmates and pre-trial remandees," the statement said.

Since proper hygiene is billed as an effective way to prevent the virus' spread, PS Hussein said sanitisers, soaps and detergents have been provided to prisoners and hand-washing points set up.

Additionally, regular screening and surveillance will be conducted as prison commanders are directed to make sure inmates stay in their blocks to avoid unnecessary movement.

"The Cabinet Secretary for Interior and the Principal Secretary for State Department for Correctional Services co-chair daily meetings with a view to progressively reviewing the risk mitigation strategy to effectively keep any possible outbreak at bay," the statement said.

Further, the department does not foresee food shortages, and Athi River GK Prison has increased production of the safety items.

Prison commanders have been ordered to ensure that thorough inspections are done.

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