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Greek Prison in Emergency Mode After COVID-Related Death, Infections

November 13, 2020

THESSALONIKI — Authorities were on alert about the rising incidence of coronavirus infections at Thessaloniki's Diavata prison on Friday, after a 69-year-old inmate died on Thursday of Covid-19 and another 108 prisoners and staff are in quarantine for testing positive to the novel coronavirus.

The deceased inmate, who had reportedly been vaccinated for the flu on November 4, was hospitalized on November 7.

Of those infected in the prison – 100 inmates and 8 staff – all are asymptomatic and have been placed in quarantine.

Reviewing the situation was Secretary General for Anticriminal Policy Sophia Nikolaou, who visited the jail four days ago.

Twenty-four inmates who have tested negative to the novel coronavirus will be transferred to the hospital of Korydallos prison in the Piraeus area because they belong to vulnerable groups.

The first infection at Diavata was identified on October 20. By November 6, the infections had reached 65. On that date, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) took 160 sample tests among inmates and tested the entire staff of 98.

EODY paid another visit to the prison on Thursday to do another 220 rapid tests, to be completed Friday (today). The jail is under emergency measures, with a ban on all but necessary visits and general lockdown.

Responding to a question in Parliament by Movement for Change (KINAL), Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Lefteris Economou said on Friday that staff in all prisons will be tested weekly. The inmates will be tested on a random basis, with priority on prisons with a high viral load. In addition, he reiterated a decision on November 11, according to which, if necessary, two hospitals in Attica will set up special units for sick prisoners.

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