The Correctional Services Bureau has implemented a sweeping programme of Preventative Closed-loop Management Measures at Coloane Prison since last Sunday to prevent Covid-19 transmission.
The bureau noted that it suspended the prison’s external services, including visitations and meetings with social workers on 19 June, the day after Macao’s current Covid-19 outbreak was detected.
Currently, everyone in the prison and juvenile detention centre must undergo a rapid antigen test (RAT) every day.
All inmates and staff have received personal protective equipment and novel coronavirus prevention materials, including N95 face masks, goggles, protective clothes, hand sanitiser and infrared thermometers.
All the related facilities such as warehouses, campus and prison vans are cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day.
However, the bureau pointed out that due to the outbreak’s deteriorating situation, on 3 July it adopted even “more stringent” prevention measures against the spread of Covid-19.
At present 310 prison guards, medical staff and chefs are in closed-loop management, which was launched on 3 July.
After the closed-loop management was implemented, except for the first batch of prison guards, other prison officers who participate in rotation shifts must undergo quarantine for seven days, and work for seven days before returning to the community.
Officers on rotation stay in the dormitories provided by the Macao Public Security Forces Academy in Coloane, which is used as a training area for new recruits.
The dormitories are equipped with basic living facilities, including adequate drying space for clothes, supplies, and beds that meet hygienic standards, while a dry-cleaning service for uniforms is also provided.
The bureau remains “highly concerned” about the daily meals of closed-loop staff, so each meal is delivered directly from the staff canteen, while microwave ovens are also available.
The bureau said it will continue to pay close attention to the daily needs and physical and mental health of the closed-loop staff by providing support and psychological counselling services.
Moreover, the bureau underlined that in order to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the facilities, all non-essential activities, such as visitations and the transfer of goods, have been suspended.
However, the prison’s social workers and psychological counselling staff continue to provide “extensive” support to prisoners and their families, including arranging for the prisoners to make phone calls to their families and following up on online visitation applications, so as to safeguard their physical and mental health.
Information broadcasts are also being provided to keep prisoners informed of the actual situation of the current Covid-19 outbreak, while counselling and support is also being provided by social workers through video link in special cases, The Macau Post Daily reported.