Authorities trying to curb spread of COVID-19 at prison in Belize

Prison authorities have confirmed plans to shut down the Hattieville prison in Belize amid concerns that coronavirus is spreading at the country’s sole correctional facility.

Hands of the prisoner in jail

The authorities at the Belize Central Prison have confirmed that more positive cases of the virus have been detected among prisoners and wardens and up to Friday night, five new cases were confirmed among ninety samples, bringing the number to 21.

Media reports said that a prison warden died on Thursday, though his cause of death has still not been confirmed.

The prison has since instituted complete confinement of all inmates for their own safety, and according to the Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero, the data shows that “we do have eight prisoners that have turned up and that is mostly as a result of the sweeps done on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.”

He added: “This would include the initial persons that have been identified and then the further ones identified earlier in the week.”

The non-profit, non-governmental organisation, the Kolbe Foundation, which has managed the prison since 2002 said it has established various quarantining units within the prison to curb the spread of the virus.

The chief executive officer at the Foundation, Virgilio Murillo, said that positive persons are not being allowed to co-mingle with the general population.