Inmates thank DCS for prioritising their well-being during Covid-19

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Inmates at Bizzah Makhate Management Area, in the Free State/Northern Cape Region, have thanked DCS for ensuring that their wellbeing is a priority in the current coronavirus pandemic.

Offenders commended DCS officials for keeping them updated with information on Covid-19, and working in the interests of their health and safety.

Area Commissioner (AC) of Bizzah Makhate Management Area, Jacob Mbele has confirmed screening for officials and inmates is on-going in all 14 correctional facilities in the management area. He said that staff are screened and sanitised every day when they report for duty.

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AC Mbele alluded to their partnership with the Department of Health to ensure proper screening. So far, correctional facilities that have been covered include Harrismith, Hoopstad, Bethlehem Correctional Centres and Odendaarlsrus Remand Detention Centre with 62 officials tested. Over 946 inmates have been screened, and 280 tested.

Odendaalsrus correctional facility detains over 740 persons who are not yet sentenced, most of whom are foreign nationals working in the mining sector. “When they arrive at the centre, some of them display flu-like symptoms. To confirm that these are not Covid-19 symptoms, the management area, together with the Department of Health, embarked on a mass screening and testing campaign in order to ensure that the correct measures are taken while it is still early,” said Mbele.

Detainees are also tested for blood pressure, sugar levels and TB. AC Mbele said that each centre has isolation sites, and a quarantine site has been set up at Kroonstad Medium B.

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