The Directorate of Health Services has directed to conduct a coffee powder test among prisoners in the state to find out COVID-19 symptoms. One of the symptoms of the disease being losing the sense of smell, the prisoners smell coffee powder to ascertain the presence of coronavirus in their body. Among the 4,298 prisoners who underwent the coffee powder test, 683 have tested positive so far.
Those who are symptomatic are placed under observation and their close contacts are shifted to quarantine. A COVID test will be conducted on them and even if they test negative, they will be under observation till the symptoms disappear.
If the jail does not have enough facilities, the prisoners will be shifted to special medical centres or quarantine facilities. The new prisoners will undergo antigen test and will be shifted to a prison where COVID-19 has not been reported. Those who are senior citizens and underlying medical conditions will be accommodated separately, away from the rest of the prisoners.
In the wake of the situation, prison officials will be categorised into three – those on COVID duty, those on other duties and a reserve team. The officials who have duty in the COVID wing should not mingle with other officials or prisoners. The prison officials who complete 10-day duty can take five days off, according to the Health Department directive.