Over 100 inmates infected with coronavirus in Bali’s prison outbreak

A Kerobokan prison inmate undergoing a swab test. Photo: Istimewa via Kumparan
A Kerobokan prison inmate undergoing a swab test. Photo: Istimewa via Kumparan

Bali’s Kerobokan Prison, famously and ironically known as Hotel K, has been identified as a new COVID-19 cluster in the province, following official confirmation that as many as 125 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus as of this morning. 

The Bali office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights said that infected male prisoners are being isolated at the Kuta block of the penitentiary, whereas female prisoners are isolated at the Kartini block. 

Officials said none of them was determined to be in need of a special treatment. 

“They are not sick so special treatment doesn’t seem required, just vitamins. There are medical staff at the prison,” I Putu Surya Dharma, a spokesman from the office, said.

Hundreds of inmates at Hotel K had to undergo swab tests this past week, after more than 600 tested “reactive” for the coronavirus during mass rapid tests conducted at the facility. Of the 125 who have been confirmed positive with the coronavirus, nine are reportedly foreign nationals.

Kerobokan Prison is at overcapacity with 1,315 inmates, he added, when it’s only meant to house some 350 inmates. This showcases yet another example of extreme overcrowding in Indonesian prisons, which may have accelerated coronavirus transmissions within the facility.

Despite the current situation at Hotel K, Surya said authorities have yet to conduct mass rapid tests at other prisons in Bali, citing heavy medical expenses for the delay. 

“It’s expensive so we’re still negotiating with the Health Agency in Badung regency. There are simply too many [prisoners] and the expensive is quite hefty,” Surya said.

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