As many as 17 of 29 inmates lodged in the barrack where one prisoner died of COVID-19 in Mandoli jail last week have tested positive for the infection, an official said on Monday.

Kanwar Singh, 62, who was lodged in Central Jail number 14, Mandoli, died in his sleep on June 15. His COVID-19 test came out positive on Saturday. The report prompted the jail authorities to conduct COVID-19 test on the 29 other inmates sharing the barrack with Singh, officials said.

Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel said all the 17 inmates who tested positive have been shifted to a separate barrack and their health is being closely monitored by the jail doctor. As of now, the health of all the infected inmates is stable, he said. The 12 inmates who tested negative have also been quarantined, he said.

Delhi prisons comprise Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli jails. Till now, 40 inmates in Delhi prisons have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 16 of them have recovered. Singh, who was sentenced to life term in a 2016 murder case, is the only COVID-19 fatality so far.

Among the 46 prison staff who tested positive for the virus, 12 have recovered so far, said jail officials.

In the wake of the increase in COVID-19 cases in prisons, the jail staff and inmates have been asked to take all necessary precautions and follow social distancing to contain the spread of the infection.

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