More than 500 cases of COVID-19 have been detected in prisons across China, authorities said yesterday, prompting the sacking of a slew of officials.
China’s Hubei Province said that 271 cases were reported by its prisons on Thursday, including 220 that had previously not been known to provincial authorities.
Most of those cases were at the Wuhan Women’s Prison in the province’s capital, Chinese Bureau of Prison Administration Director He Ping (何平) told reporters.
The warden of Wuhan Women’s Prison was removed for failing to prevent the outbreak, the Hubei Daily reported.
Seven guards and 200 inmates also tested positive for the virus at Rencheng Prison in eastern Shandong Province, the Shandong Provincial Health Committee told a news conference.
Shandong Provincial Department of Justice Director Xie Weijun (解維俊) and seven other officials were sacked, officials said.
The new cases show that the “implementation of our prevention and control measures have not been effective,” Shandong Prison Administration Bureau Director Wu Lei (吳磊) said.
Another 34 cases were found at Shilifeng Prison in Zhejiang Province, leading to the ouster of its director and another official.
A policeman had “deliberately concealed” information about a visit to Wuhan in the middle of January and continued to work at the prison, Zhejiang Provincial Justice Department Deputy Directory Xu Xiaobo (徐曉波) said.
Yesterday, Hubei announced that 411 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the province on Thursday, but later revised its figure to 631 to include the prison numbers.
Iran yesterday confirmed 13 new COVID-19 cases, two of whom have died, with the outbreak there coming just as the country votes in a parliamentary election.
The majority of the cases in Iran have been in Qom, a Shiite Muslim holy city 120km south of Tehran.
The number of cases in Iran stands at 18, with four of those people having died.
Health officials on Thursday called for the suspension of all religious gatherings in Qom.
Three people have tested positive in Italy for COVID-19, the northern Lombardy region said yesterday — the first known cases of local transmission of the illness.
Looking to contain the virus, officials urged residents to stay at home.
“Most of the contacts of those tested positive for coronavirus have been identified and subjected to the necessary tests and measures,” the region said in a statement.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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