Gaborone — The strategy adopted by Botswana Prison Service to reduce the risks of COVID-19 in prison cells is reportedly paying off.
The organisation's assistant commissioner Mr Wamorena Ramolefhe said when the first case was reported locally, a task force led by prisons commissioner Mr Silas Setlalekgosi was formed to prevent and contain the virus.
"Our strategy worked well because out of over 3 000 prisoners that are under our custody, no one tested positive for the virus safe for newly remanded ones," he said.
He was giving an update on measures his organisation had put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Gaborone yesterday.
Mr Ramolefhe revealed that the newly renovated Lobatse and Francistown prisons were used as prison quarantine centres for those remanded in the southern and northern part of the country respectively.
The assistant commissioner said amongst the measures that worked well for the organisation was to stop daily visits and the suspension of some services.
He pointed out that stopping daily visits meant the organisation had to provide toiletry to all inmates despite its already stretched budget.
Prisoners who had completed their terms also had to be transported as there was no public transport during the lockdown period, he said.
He applauded officers and all stakeholders for making the organisation's job easier by adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
For her part, Senior Superintendent Maikutlo Pitlagano said the organisation also ensured that all entry points to prisons had screening and sanitizing booths to ensure that the disease did not find its way into prison cells.
She said since the pandemic broke out, 2 007 men had been tested for COVID-19 with 22 of them testing positive while out of 120 women, only one had a positive result.
Currently there are four active cases in quarantine centres.
Source : BOPA