COVID-19 Cases Surge Inside Thai Prisons

The Thai Corrections Department reported that there are almost 3,000 inmates that tested positive for COVID-19 at two prisons in Bangkok.

Corrections department official Weerakit Harnpariphan said that the unnamed two prisons had tested “100 percent” of their inmates but did not say when the testing started.

Human Rights Watch, a United States-based rights group, expressed concern over the outbreaks in prisons and said the detainees were at risk. 

“Besides providing health care and virus testing, the authorities should the reduce the detainee population through supervised release of those held on politically motivated charges or for minor offenses, or who face greater risk from underlying health conditions, suggested Human Rights Watch Asia Director Brad Adams. 

Among those detainees who tested positive were activists such as Panusaya “Rung” Sitthijirawattanakum and Panupong “Mike” Jadnok. 

The legal aid group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said eight other activists who were detained have also tested positive.

Human Rights Watch called on Thai authorities to release non-violent prisoners to prevent overcrowding and provide accessible healthcare for detainees. 

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